"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens." - Ephesians 1:3
Marriage: a gift bestowed by the Creator
"Among the many blessings that God has showered upon us in Christ is the blessing of marriage, a gift bestowed by the Creator from the creation of the human race. His hand has inscribed the vocation to marriage in the very nature of man and woman (see Gn 1:27-28, 2:21- 24).
It is a source of blessing to the couple, to their families, and to society and includes the wondrous gift of co-creating human life.
Indeed, as Pope John Paul II never tired of reminding us, the future of humanity depends on marriage and the family."
As Catholics, we understand the sacraments make Christ present in our midst. Like the other sacraments, marriage is not just for the good of individuals, or the couple, but for the community as a whole. The Catholic Church teaches that marriage between two baptized persons is a sacrament. The Old Testament prophets saw the marriage of a man and woman as a symbol of the covenant relationship between God and his people.
The permanent and exclusive union between husband and wife mirrors the mutual commitment between God and his people. The Letter to the Ephesians says that this union is a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
In 2005, The US Conference of Catholic Bishops launched the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage to call attention to the meaning and value of married life for the Church and for society. The crowning achievement of the Initiative was the Bishops' 2009 pastoral letter, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan. The letter presents the essential points of Catholic teaching on marriage as a natural gift, as a sacrament, and as a public commitment between a man and a woman. It also discusses several contemporary challenges to marriage and how the Church addresses those challenges.
Wedding Ceremonies at St. Stephen
Please be assured of our prayers and support for you during this special time for preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Below you can find helpful, specific information you'll need in planning your wedding ceremony.
Why in the Church?
A wedding ceremony entails the conferral and reception of a sacrament. It thus involves far more than mere sentiment, beautiful flowers, and romantic wedding photos taken under a rose trellis. It is important to maintain the sense of the sacred, because that is exactly what a marriage ceremony is – a sacred, sacramental occasion.
For more information, see the following articleand talk with your priest: Must Catholics Marry in a Church?
It’s important to remember that your wedding is taking place in a religious setting. If the bride and groom are both Catholic, the wedding is usually celebrated with a Nuptial Mass. If a bride or groom is baptized non-Catholic, the wedding may be celebrated with a Mass or without a Mass, as you determine.
Only the Catholic partner will receive Holy Communion. If a bride or groom is not baptized, the wedding is celebrated without a Mass.
Call the Parish Office and schedule a meeting with a clergy member. During the initial meeting you can set a wedding date. Only after speaking with a priest can a date be confirmed.
The wedding date should be at least 6 months after that first meeting. A couple must be free to marry in the Catholic Church. If either person has been previously married, no date can be set until their freedom to marry has been determined.
Marriage preparation programs take different forms. Some couples attend a weekend retreat; others are matched with a "sponsor couple"; and others participate in a series of marriage preparation classes offered by their parish or diocese.
The important thing for engaged couples to keep in mind as they check numerous items off their pre-wedding "to-do" list is the well-known adage, "Your wedding lasts a day, but your marriage lasts a lifetime." The Church encourages couples to invest time and energy into the all-important work of preparing for their married life together.
As you plan, please be aware of our parish's policies and procedures regarding Wedding Ceremonies. They may include:
- Celebrants and Concelebrants
- Necessary Documents