Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.
Matrimony: A Sacrament At The Service Of Communion
The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature, it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament. The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.
Married couples will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith. The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason, the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues, and of Christian charity.
The information above as well as additional information about the Sacraments of the Church can be found at: The USCCB Website
Congratulations on your engagement!
The Church is united with you in prayer and loving support as you respond to God’s call to live the fullness of your faith within the Sacrament of Marriage.
The Office of Family Life is committed to assisting you in embracing the vocation of marriage. This time of preparation is a blessing: Participation in the marriage preparation program will deepen your ability to fully live God’s call to holy love in marriage and family life. I am confident that the process will provide you with life skills and faith formation to better understand the Church’s dedication to married life and the Lord’s invitation to you in the vocation of matrimony. Be assured of my prayers, and may God bless you with His love and abundant graces.
The Most Reverend Edward M. Rice
Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
Steps To Get Married
Step 1: Meet With Your Priest Or Deacon
When: Recommended 8-12 Months before the wedding.
As soon as possible after your engagement, contact your priest or deacon to assist you with your marriage preparation. At the initial meeting, he will determine if you and your fiancé(e) are free to marry in the Church; he will provide you with information for completing Steps 2-5 of this process; and he will set up a schedule for future meetings.
Step 2 – Marriage Preparation Inventory
When: As soon as possible or after meeting with your priest or deacon
Complete a marriage preparation “inventory,” which is a set of questions to help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship and any areas that need further discussion or attention. Typically these marriage inventories are from FOCCUS.
Step 3 – Participate in a Marriage Preparation Program
When: 6-12 months before your wedding
The standard program our diocese offers consists of five, two-hour sessions held once a week for five consecutive weeks. The sessions are held in the home of a volunteer lead couple. Each session must be attended in order to receive a Certificate of Completion. Upon completion, this certificate will be mailed to your pastor. Sessions are scheduled in your area by our office. And while we try to accommodate your schedule, limited lead couple availability requires flexibility. Look forward to a fun and engaging time while making new friends!
Step 4 – Natural Family Planning Intro Course
When: 6-12 months before your wedding
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is not only effective for planning your family it is also highly effective in overcoming obstacles that compromise your ability to become parents. Ask your priest or deacon about finding an NFP class or mentor couple in your area.
Step 5: Sacrament Of Reconciliation
When: Before the wedding as necessary
The Church invites all Catholics to prepare themselves spiritually prior to their marriage by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even if you are not of the Catholic faith, you still would benefit from spiritual direction. The regular practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation keeps marriages healthy and strong.
Step 6: Liturgy Planning
When: Before the wedding
You will plan the liturgy, including the readings, music, etc. with your celebrant.
Watching the USCCB video Saying I Do…What Happens at a Catholic Wedding is very helpful for this process.
Looking for your sacramental certificate? Contact the parish in which the sacrament took place to obtain your certificate. If the parish is closed, you can obtain the certificate from the Office of the Chancellor.