“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” CCC 1601
For baptized persons, marriage has been raised to the dignity of a sacrament. There is a unique character in the marriage between two Christians; it is a visible sign of Christ’s love for the couple and through their love, it is a sign of Christ’s love and presence in the world. Marriage is not a contract; rather it is a covenantal bond of love solemnly professed between the man and woman before God and the Church. This covenantal bond is the basis for the Church’s teaching that marriage is a permanent commitment. Marriage in the Catholic Church is much more than a ceremony in the church building. It is a spiritual and moral binding of the man and woman, a union that is to be free, faithful, and fruitful.
Marriage takes place during the Liturgy, in most cases during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When Mass is not celebrated, if for instance the bride or groom is not a Catholic Christian, the marriage is celebrated in the context of the Liturgy of the Word.
Marriage preparation is extremely important. Once a couple is engaged, they should contact the Pastor before choosing a date for their wedding. A six month program of marriage preparation is required. There are certain requirements that have to be met in order to be married in the Church. These will be explained to each couple when they meet with the pastor.