Matrimony

  • The Sacrament of Matrimony

    For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, is a public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and wife speaks of family values and also God's values.  In Marriage, Christian spouses reflect the unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and His Church, and help each other to attain to holiness in their married life and in the rearing and education of their children.

    From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.    (Mark 10: 6-9)


  • Parish Guidelines

    Couples wishing to marry are required to meet with the parish priest at least six months before the planned wedding date. Please call the parish office to schedule a meeting with the priest.

    Every couple is required to attend a Pre-Marriage Class.


  • What Makes A Marriage

    What Makes a Marriage
    by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

    What makes a marriage. Is it a legal ceremony and a marriage license? Is it a Church ceremony with organ, candles, and priests? Is it the bodily union of the partners?   The Catholic church teaches that while all of these are important, none is what cements the marriage bond. Marriage is a covenant, a relationship established through the free, informed consent of both parties. It happens when two people who are free to marry and are physically and emotionally capable of marriage give themselves to each other, understanding that marriage means openness to life and commitment to faithful love till death. 

    When that happens between two unbaptized people, a natural marriage bond is formed that is greatly respected by the Catholic Church. When it happens between two baptized persons, the Holy Spirit is poured out and the natural bond is elevated to a supernatural sacrament. 

    The natural blessings of marriage are the companionship, mutual support and intimacy of the spouses plus the possibility of sharing in God’s creative, life-giving work – the procreation and education of children. In a sacramental marriage, there is an additional goal – the spouses accept the vocation to be a prophetic, visible sign of the unbreakable covenant between Christ and His Church.   In both these cases, God has joined the couple and the two have become one – the first on a natural level, the second on both natural and supernatural levels.

    For those who are married or contemplating marriage, know that the Church’s teaching comes from the Lord Himself and that is a testimony not to some sort of old-fashioned prudishness, but rather to the power and beauty of a state in life that points beyond itself to heaven.

  • What the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about Marriage

    Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of "the wedding-feast of the Lamb." Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its "mystery," its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal "in the Lord" in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church.  (CCC 1602)

    Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."  (CCC 1605)


  • Marriage and Society

    What is marriage?

    Marriage, as instituted by God and supported by the needs of human nature, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of one man and one woman joined in an intimate communion of life and love. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are different from, yet created for, each other in all aspects of their being. This complementarily, including sexual difference and spousal configuration, draws them together in a mutually loving union that is always open to the procreation of children.
     

    Why can marriage exist only between a man and a woman?
    Only the union of a male and female can express the full sexual complementarily willed by God for marriage.  In knowing what God has created, we know His will.  Man and woman are to give to each other their entire being in their masculinity and femininity.  “They are equal as human beings but different as a man and woman, fulfilling each other through this difference.”  This makes possible the conjugal bond, which is the core of marriage.


    Why is it so important that marriage be preserved?
    After millennia of human experience and ethical reflection, history has shown the family to be the foundation of society. The institution of marriage plays an essential role in the continuation of the human race, the full and proper development of each person and the establishment of a society rooted in personal dignity, social stability and mutual respect. Marriage is the foundation of the family. In turn the family is the basic unit of society. Thus while marriage is a personal relationship it also has public significance.
    
    Society needs the presence and contribution of males and females. Marriage is the primary pattern for male-female relationships. It has social value insofar as it models the way in which women and men can live interdependently and commit, for the whole of life, to seek the good of each other.
    
    “The marital union also provides conditions for raising children: namely, the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father present only in marriage. The state rightly recognizes this relationship as a public institution in its laws because the relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good.”


    Why should marriage even be a part of civil law?
    The civil government has power to enact legislation because there is a human need for order as we live together with others. The ordering of our society must reflect our deepest and most abiding values. Civil laws are intended not only to provide a structure within which we can live in harmony and peace, but also to support our most cherished values. In a religiously pluralistic society we find common ground for legislation in the created order and in the natural moral law that follows on that reality. It is within the context of God’s natural created order, human sexuality and marriage, that we can evaluate some of the current challenges to these values today. To propose a new definition of marriage is to present a completely different understanding of human sexuality and in purpose. Thus we see increasingly proposals made for same-sex “marriage” – the desire to legitimize a union of people of the same sex as if it were a relationship equal to marriage.
    
    The Church’s vision of family life includes the personal commitment of the spouses to each other. It also embraces the openness to the generation of new life if it is God’s plan for the marriage – the joyful acceptance of the responsibility and privilege of raising children and helping them to grow in wisdom, age and grace. In God’s plan, marriage is a graced response to the love of God reflected in the love of the spouses for one another. God’s grace elevated married life to the level of sacramental participation in Christ’s own redeeming action ordinarily allowing parents to participate in the building up of the body of Christ by bringing new life into the world and into the Church. The Church’s vision of human sexuality in marriage is a great truth entrusted to us by God as reflected in the way He created us. Jesus Christ also revealed to us what God’s plan is for our sexuality and for marriage. We not only cherish this great truth but we must also speak up in its defense because we hold marriage to be a sacred reality.


    Marriage and Children
    The future depends on children. Without children, cultures die, nations die, and the human species dies. Nothing is more fundamental to the common good than children. And nothing matters more for the well-being of children than the health of marriage and family life. Social justice requires above all that we safeguard and strengthen marriage and family life.


    A Great Truth
    The Church’s vision of human sexuality in marriage is a great trust entrusted to us by God as reflected in the way he created us. Jesus Christ also revealed to us what God’s plan is for our sexuality and for marriage. We not only cherish this great truth but we must also speak up in its defense because we hold marriage to be a sacred reality.  


    Promote Peace by Promoting the Family
    When Blessed Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she was asked what people can do to promote world peace. Her answer was profoundly countercultural: “Go home and love your families.” Justice can only arise from the human heart, and habits of the heart are first learned in the family.
     
    Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly pointed to the same truth. His Message for the World Day of Peace 2008 emphasizes the irreplaceable role of the family in “humanizing” individuals: “Indeed, in healthy family life we experience some of the fundamental elements of peace: justice and love between brothers and sisters, the role of authority expressed by parents, loving concern for the members who are weaker because of youth, sickness, or old age, mutual help in the necessities of life, readiness to accept others and, if necessary, to forgive them. For this reason,  the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace.” Who can replace a mother’s care in teaching her child to be unselfish? Or a father’s concern to see his children treat one another fairly? Without healthy family life, selfishness and injustice will corrode society .
    
    As a result, the pope has strong words for those who would undermine the family: “ everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children,  constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace.


    Sex and the Common Good
    
    In marriage, love and life transform the world. The nobility of the vocation to true love must be communicated in a compelling way to our children, who are being drawn away by the dehumanizing hook-up way of life. “Friendship with benefits” destroys the happiness of everyone involved, but our young girls are especially victimized. With innocence destroyed, our children are finding it harder and harder to grow up to love with that openness of heart necessary to welcome the future in lifelong and life-giving marriage. Intimate relationships between adults can also be unjust, even when the people involved consent to being treated badly. Pope John Paul II never tired of reminding us that sexuality is meant to express lifelong and life-giving love. Anything less is lying with our bodies. We owe it to other people to respect their dignity, which is inseparable from how we treat their bodies. We must not exploit them for our own pleasure. And we are owed the same respect. Conversely, when sexuality is an intimate expression of lifelong, life-giving married love, it serves the common good of all. The loving commitment of marriage opens the spouses to the children that result from their union. Just and loving relationships flow outward from the family into the larger community and serve the common good.



    Love & Money

    Economically speaking, marriage must be recognized as crucial. Marriage is a wealth-building institution. If we want to raise the economic status of the disadvantaged, we need to promote marriage. Minorities have suffered from the breakdown of marriage and the family disproportionately. The lifelong commitment of a husband and a wife is one of the most significant factors in the economic health of the individuals involved, especially women and children. As one sociologist puts it, the sociological data indicate that  “the preferential option for the poor begins in the home.” We must communicate this social sensibility to our children. It all begins in the home: in marriage and family life. Whatever attacks the integrity of love in the home, undermines society and social justice at its root. The future depends on the lifelong and life-giving love of marriage.