Marriage

What is the sacrament of Marriage?

The sacrament of marriage is a visible sign of God’s love for the Church. When a man and a woman are married in the Church, they receive the grace needed for a lifelong bond of unity.

Marriage is the unique Sacrament which binds one man and one woman together in a covenant under God and His Church. It is a Sacrament of vocation, a response to a specific calling that God has placed in the hearts of a couple. It is a bond that lasts for life which is permanent, faithful, and fruitful. Marriage is not just about two people, but is the foundation of the family, the “domestic church,” the most basic and foundational structure, not only for the Church, but for all of society.

Marriage is a Covenant
The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenantal union in the image of the covenants between God and his people with Abraham and later with Moses at Mt. Sinai. This divine covenant can never be broken. In this way, marriage is a union that bonds spouses together during their entire lifetime.

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.

– Catechism of the Catholic Church 1661

The love in a married relationship is exemplified in the total gift of one’s self to another. It’s this self-giving and self-sacrificing love that we see in our other model of marriage, the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

– Catechism of the Catholic Church 1662

The Church takes the lifelong nature of the Sacrament of Marriage seriously. The Church teaches that a break in this covenant teaches goes against the natural law of God:

The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

– Catechism of the Catholic Church 1665

Marriage Reflects the Holy Trinity

We believe that God exists in eternal communion. Together, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in one being with no beginning and no end. Human beings, likewise, were created by God in God’s image for the purpose of communion with another human being.

“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit”

– Catechism of the Catholic Church 2205

The Sacrament of Marriage is “unitive, indissoluble and calls us to be completely open to fertility.” Christian marriage at its finest is a reflection of God’s self-giving love expressed between the love of two people.

Engaged couples planning to be married at Our Lady of Fatima should contact one of the priests or deacons at least four months in advance, but should be aware that many couples do so at least a year in advance of their preferred date. Definite plans for a particular date should not be made until such contact has been completed. Only when a priest or deacon has decided that he will officiate at the marriage, will a definite date be set. There is a requirement for marriage preparation classes. Options for these will be discussed when you meet with the priest or deacon you have chosen as your celebrant.