Marriage & Family
Marriage in the Catholic Church, also called matrimony, is the "covenant by which a man and woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring", and which "has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised."
The sacrament of matrimony is a wonderful gift and vocation to holiness. The Church wants to assist you with this calling to a life of self-giving and commitment, and so each couple participates in marriage preparation programs.
You're engaged. Now what?
- Pray! Now that you have made the first step toward your life-long commitment to one another, build your newly formed relationship on prayer. Take a few minutes each day to pray as a couple that God will bless your relationship and your preparation process. Engagement is a time for many blessings, and to grow closer to one another and to the Lord who brought the two of you together and live out your Catholic faith by attending Sunday Mass, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and spending time with the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration.
- Meet with your priest. Each engaged couple must meet with their local priest, fill out a marriage questionnaire, and complete other required paperwork. The initial approach to the priest must be made at least six months prior to the wedding date (please do not reserve a reception facility until you know when the wedding will be). Keep in mind that if one party to the marriage is not Catholic, other forms will be required. Any questions in this regard can be answered by the local priest.
- Participate in an Archdiocesan Marriage Preparation Program, ideally in the first few months of your engagement. It will assist you in getting to know your fiancée/fiancé at a deeper level. Topics covered include Self-knowledge, Communication Skills, What is Love?, What is Marriage?, What is the Sacrament of Marriage?, Prayer and Spirituality in Marriage, Finances, and Marital Sexuality as an Introduction to Natural Family Planning. This marriage preparation complements the meetings you have with your priest.
- Attend Natural Family Planning classes. NFP is a series of classes that provides you with the information needed to understand and interpret natural signs of fertility and infertility to either achieve or avoid pregnancy. Natural Family Planning has the added benefit of strengthening your marriage through enhanced communication and intimacy.
- Plan your wedding liturgy with the priest, musicians, etc. The sacrament of marriage gives you the unique opportunity to minister the sacrament to each other. You are able to select from a variety of readings and prayers throughout the ceremony. Once the liturgy is planned, set the date and time for the rehearsal.
- Obtain your marriage license.
- Celebrate your blessed wedding day!
- Attend marriage enrichment workshops during your marriage or join a marriage enrichment group to gain support in your new vocation.