SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
ABOUT THE SACRAMENT
“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.”
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.
God who created man out of love also calls him to love—the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.’ ”
In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.
The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the marriage.” If consent is lacking there is no marriage. The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear. No human power can substitute for this consent. If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid.
“From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament.” The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.
REQUIREMENTS BEFORE MARRIAGE
Marriage in the Catholic Church may only be contracted between two people who are free to marry.
Individuals who have been married before and still have a former spouse living, must first have that marriage declared null before they can establish a date for their wedding.
Being married at Saint John the Baptist is reserved for registered parishioners, and those closely related to current parishioners.
Archdiocesan policy dictates that marriage formation must begin at least six months prior to the scheduled wedding.
This will require the couple to contact the parish office (952-492-2640) 9-12 months prior to a desired wedding date.
Preparation includes meetings with a parish representative, a FOCCUS inventory with an assigned mentor couple, and attending a 6-week Pre-Marriage Formation Program.
The couple is also required to attend an Archdiocesan Weekend Retreat, as well as complete a Natural Family Planning course.