For many couples these days, marriage is seen not as a necessity for a long term relationship, but an optional add-on: A reason for a party and a get-together with friends and family. For Catholics, however, marriage is much more than this. It's not merely an excuse for a party; not merely a civil contract but is a covenant between a man and a woman before God. If both are baptised, the marriage is a sacrament, a symbol of the unity of Christ and the Church. A sacramental marriage is a means of grace, giving strength to the husband and wife to live out their commitment, and to help each on the path to holiness.
Because marriage is so important, couples who are preparing to marry will normally undertake a process of marriage preparation with a priest or deacon. This provides a time to reflect on the Christian understanding of marriage and to appreciate the commitment that is being undertaken.
In particular, couples will come to understand the Church's teaching that marriage is a life-long commitment, is faithful and exclusive, and is open to having children - as we can see in the following quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptised to the dignity of a sacrament.
The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.
Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.
For further information please contact the Parish Office.