God who created all people out of love also calls us to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For we are created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. The mutual love [which spouses bear for each other] becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves us. 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.

“God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.’”

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,” i.e., his counterpart, 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.”

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1604-1605)

Congratulations on your engagement!

Preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony is a wonderfully busy time in the lives of the members of our family and yours. Please contact the rectory to arrange a convenient time to speak with one of our priests so that we can assist you through your preparation. The necessary preparatory steps typically require a minimum of six months lead time before the date of your wedding.

Preparatory steps include:

  • Scheduling a date and time for your wedding;
  • Consulting in the preparation of prayers and readings for the ceremony;
  • Participating, either in person or online, in a formal program of preparation, called Pre-Cana;
  • Gathering appropriate paperwork for officially recording your marriage. This includes recent copies of Baptismal Certificates, as well as affidavits testifying to your freedom to marry;
  • Obtaining a marriage license from civil authorities

The official diocesan policy for celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage is here.

Assuming that you and your intended spouse meet all the requirements for the celebration of the sacrament of Marriage, there is no fee to be paid, since by virtue of your Baptism, you have the right to celebrate any of the sacraments for which you are qualified.

If you wish to make a donation to Holy Cross, it will be gratefully accepted.

Keep in mind that any musicians whom you choose to hire for the ceremony have the right to expect payment for their services.

You should be aware that there are some special circumstances which may require adaptation of the marriage preparation program.

  • Cohabitation: Couples who are cohabiting should be informed of the theological and sociological reasons that indicate why cohabitation prior to marriage can undermine the future success of their marriage. They are to be strongly encouraged to separate during the remaining period of their engagement. This may not be possible for various reasons. They then should be encouraged to abstain from sexual relations. Regardless, the Catholic parties should be encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that they are in the state of grace to receive and confer the Sacrament of Marriage. 
  • Second Marriages: People who have received annulments, are divorced, or widowed, have special circumstances entering into a second marriage. Each of these is to be treated with sensitivity and an awareness of their particular situations. 
  • Pregnancy: It should be determined whether the pregnancy is the motivating reason for the decision to marry. This also presents problems in that some couples are living together. Separation for the couple may be very difficult for the expectant mother. 
  • Couples with Children: Couples may have children of their own or from a previous relationship. Each is in a different situation and should be a concern for the priest and the team. 
  • Ecumenical and Interfaith Marriages: When the couple belong to different denominations or religions they may wish, for the sake of harmony, to contact the minister, rabbi, or representative of the non-Catholic party concerning their marriage. The non-Catholic party is to be made aware of the responsibility of the Catholic party to do all in his/her power to have the children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith. 
  • Older Couples: These couples are in a different period of their life cycle than the young adults. There should be sensitivity as to whether it is necessary for them to attend one of the formal Marriage preparation instructions. Private discussions may be preferable.

There are some issues which may prompt the priest to delay or refuse to witness a marriage:

  • Denial of the “Goods of Marriage” which are: the unity and indissolubility of marriage, the fidelity of conjugal love, and the openness to fertility. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1643-1654)
  • Inability to provide the consent which marriage requires, because of lack of maturity, age, mental/emotional disability, drug abuse, etc.

Back to Sacraments Main Page