What is Marriage?
Marriage is a beautiful sacrament of God's blessing on the love and union of a man and woman for the rest of their lives.
The sacrament of Matrimony (marriage) comes about through a promise made by a man and a woman before God and the Church, which is accepted and confirmed by God and consummated by the bodily union of the couple. Because God himself forms the bond of sacramental marriage, it is binding until the death of one of the partners.
(Taken from the YouCat)
Marriage is a vocation not to be entered into lightly as we are binding ourselves in a relationship with God and another for life. This binding with and by God is something that makes a Catholic wedding different to a 'legally binding' wedding outside of the church. There are three particular elements needed for a couple to get married: free consent from both individuals to enter into the marriage without fear or coersion, affiriming that it is a lifelong exclusive union between you and your husband/wife, and the openness to God's gift of children in your lives. It is important to note that without these three elements it is not possible to be married in the Church.
"To love a person means to see him as God intended him."
Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky
There is such a great joy in sharing the celebration of this sacrament with couples in our church and we look forward to supporting you in this way.
Who is it for?
Marriage in the Church is for a man and woman who are free to marry each other having not been married before. As mentioned before, the couple must be freely entering into the union, must understand that it is a binding union until 'death do us part', and be open to children in their lives. The sacramental marriage in the church is between two Catholics, if you are not both Catholic then sometimes dispensation may need to be sought before the wedding can go ahead.
What happens during Marriage?
Marriage itself is a lifelong journey with your husband/wife with may joys and challenges along the way. This special bond of marriage intends to help you face these challenges together as a couple with Christ at the centre. A marriage should be a place of love, communication, forgiveness and prayer with and for each other.
What happens during the wedding?
Leading up to the wedding, couples are required to enter into a marriage preparation course to help you consider and discern this is the correct vocation you are called to as a couple, and to help and support you in your future. The wedding itself can be a short service or a full Nuptial Mass. The Rite of Catholic Marriage is central to the celebration of the wedding: the priest or deacon will bless the rings which the bride and groom will exchange and mutually promise to 'love and honour you all the days of my life'. The celebrant will ratify the wedding and administer the blessing.
If you feel you are called to this vocation it can be helpful to talk about it with Fr Michael or Fr Gregory before getting engaged and definitely if you are already engaged. It is such a joyful Sacrament to celebrate with you and we look forward to hearing from you and supporting you on the journey towards marriage and beyond.