Matrimony is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. In the Sacrament of Marriage, a man and a woman come before God to make to each other a life-long commitment of exclusive love and affection, open to the bearing of children. God created Christian marriage as part of his plan for salvation, and the Catholic Church takes marriage preparation very seriously. A baptized Catholic cannot enter into a valid marriage other than in a Catholic church or with a prior dispensation to marry in the church of another faith. Permission is not granted for outdoor weddings or for weddings in spaces that are not used primarily for worship.
Couples wishing to get married at St. Patrick must make an appointment to see the pastor at least 6 months before the proposed date of the wedding. For a more detailed outline of what’s required, please download our St. Patrick Wedding Guidelines (and share it with your wedding planner), and contact the parish office for more information.
Theology of the Sacrament of Marriage
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation and union of man and woman and ends with “the wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7, 9). Scripture often refers to marriage, its origin and purpose, the meaning God gave to it, and its renewal in the covenant made by Jesus with his Church.
God created man and woman out of love and commanded them to imitate his love in their relations with each other. Man and woman were created for each other. “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him. . . . The two of them become one body” (Gn 2:18; 24). Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in marriage both are united in an unbreakable bond.
Jesus brought to full awareness the divine plan for marriage. In John’s Gospel, Christ’s first miracle occurs at the wedding in Cana. “The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence” (CCC, no. 1613).
By their marriage, the couple witnesses Christ’s spousal love for the Church. One of the Nuptial Blessings in the liturgical celebration of marriage refers to this in saying, “Father, you have made the union of man and wife so holy a mystery that it symbolizes the marriage of Christ and his Church.”
The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenant, which is more than a contract. Covenant always expresses a relationship between persons. The marriage covenant refers to the relationship between the husband and wife, a permanent union of persons capable of knowing and loving each other and God. The celebration of marriage is also a liturgical act, appropriately held in a public liturgy at church. Catholics are urged to celebrate their marriage within the Eucharistic Liturgy.
For more information about the Sacrament of Marriage, visit www.foryourmarriage.org.