This time of preparation can be a wonderful time of discovery as well as a stressful time of planning. In order to help you in the best possible way, this booklet has been developed so that you may be able to understand more fully the Sacrament of Marriage as well as the many details that Marriage you will likely need to consider as your special day draws near.
As the stress of all the preparation becomes apparent, it is important to keep your focus on the things that matter most. So often nonessential things (ie. the site of the reception or the kind of decorations used) can drive the bulk of the planning process. In so many ways, this is difficult to avoid. Yet, it is important to remember that the two most important things for your marriage are:
1. Your preparation, and
2. the actual celebration of the wedding.
It is these two priorities that are the focal points of St. Anne's marriage preparation process. It is our hope that this process does not become a series of “jumping through hoops” but is an effective part of your journey towards a life of Christian marriage.
Contact the priest at least six months in advance of the date on which they hope to celebrate their wedding.
Dates will be reserved only after the pastor has had sufficient opportunity to meet with the engaged couple in order to take care of necessary paperwork and to arrange for their participation in a marriage preparation program. Engaged couples should secure their date with the church before making commitments with caterers, reception halls, etc. Again, this may be difficult as the reception plans can easily overshadow the marriage prep., but you are urged to resist this temptation as it can create more problems later on. Remember that the wedding is more important than the reception.
Because there are so many details in process of preparation, couples are encouraged so simply download our full policy from our web site. Hopefully it will explain all the things necessary as well as answer frequently asked questions. Click here to download our marriage policy.
Selecting readings for your wedding is important. As such, here is a website which will help you review the approved Scripture readings for your special day: Nuptial Mass Readings.
The United State Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has created several web sites, marriageuniqueforareason.org and foryourmarriage.org, where one can learn more about the Church's teachings on marriage, access frequently asked questions, purchase publications about marriage among many other things. The site also has a link in Spanish. If you are engaged to be married, we highly recommend that you spend time with these sites which can offer critical assistance for you and your fiance.
Another good site is our own Archdiocese web site where many resources are available for people who are engaged, already married, widowed, separated, or divorced. One can even download the Archdiocese's marriage policies which may help couples understand our own parish policy.
FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
"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."
In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."
By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement "until further notice." The "intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them."
The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.
It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God's faithful love. Spouses who with God's grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community
(CCC 1601, 1614, 1646-1648)