The Sacrament of Marriage
Matrimony is the sacrament through which a baptized man and a baptized woman join themselves in an unbreakable union for life in a lawful marriage and receive God’s grace so that they may carry out their responsibilities. For non-Christians, it is the noblest of natural contracts; for Christians it is a sacrament—a sacred sign through which Christ gives His grace.
Marriage is sometimes called a covenant because it is a lifelong commitment. St. Paul tells us that Christian marriage is a sacred sign that reflects the lasting covenant which unites Christ to His Church.
The purpose of marriage is twofold: unity and procreation, or the giving of love and the giving of life. The spouses commit themselves to loving, lifelong service—to one another and to the children whom God may send them.
Vatican II teaches: “Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents....Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation. Rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen” (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, no. 50).
Christian marriage also involves growth in holiness. The spouses have a responsibility to practice their faith, which includes:
Reception of the Holy Eucharist
Mass (Sundays and Holydays)
Daily Prayer as a Family
Meditation on the Sacred Scriptures (the Bible)
Knowledge of the Creed
- Wedding arrangements must be made with the priest or deacon officiating the ceremony to fill out the required Pre-Marriage Questionnarie. Please arrange a meeting with any of them by making an appointment through our secretary.
- The Nuptial Mass is the recommended form of celebrating a Catholic wedding.
- As part of your spiritual preparation for the reception of the Sacrament of Marriage, you are to attend the Pre-Cana Conference before your wedding day.
- The entire bridal party, including the person who will give the bride away, are to be present for the wedding rehearsal to be scheduled at a convenient day and hour.
- Suits and gowns to be worn by the members of the bridal party are to be appropriate for a Christian religious ceremony.
- During the wedding ceremony, an official photographer will be permitted to take pictures from the sides of the Sanctuary without distracting the celebrant or others. The photographer is not allowed to step into the sanctuary.
- Marriage is a sacrament and must be received in a state of grace. Prepare yourself by attending Mass and by receiving the Sacrament of Penance at the scheduled times in our church or in any other church. Do not wait until rehearsal day to receive this sacrament.
- Recent Baptismal Certificate issued by the Church of Baptism within eight months of the wedding.
- Communion and Confirmation Certificates.
- Freedom of State Declaration is required from your pastor stating one is free to marry.
- Decree of Church Annulment or Death Certificate is needed if one of the parties was previously married in the Catholic Church.
- If a Catholic is married before a justice of the peace, a civil judge, or a minister of another Christian church, then the marriage is not considered valid in the eyes of the Church. This is called a lack of form. The bishop can grant a dispensation from the requirement of canonical form, but it must be done before the wedding.
- A divorcee must complete a special form before any arrangements are made for the religious marriage. The Catholic divorcee must provide copy of the Baptismal Certificate, copy of the Civil Certificate of Marriage issued by the State, and copy of the final Civil Divorce Decree. ONLY a copy of the FINAL and ABSOLUTE divorce decree is acceptable. An attached check or money order of $50.00, payable to the Diocese of Rockville Centre is requested.
- Dispensation of Marriage is required if one of the parties is not Catholic (the priest will advise concerning the necessary papers).
- Certificate of Attendance—Pre-Cana Conference.
- Marriage License from City Hall (the license is valid for sixty days) for the actual wedding must be provided if the person is marrying for the first time or is divorced and marrying civilly again after obtaining a final decree of an ecclesiastical declaration of nullity/dissolution for each prior marriage .