Many people have asked a very important question: Why should we have our marriage blessed in the Catholic Church? The simplest answer I can give to you is to briefly explain what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage.
The Catholic Church believes and teaches that Jesus Christ raised the institution of marriage to the level of a sacrament. Catholics are therefore obliged to have their marriage witnessed in the Catholic Church by a priest or deacon, according to Catholic form. Any marriage entered into by a Catholic, outside of the Catholic Church, without permission, is considered invalid by the Church, although the marriage is considered legal by civil authorities.
For various reasons, Catholics choose not to have their marriage celebrated in the Church. And yet, after several years of marriage, they may wish to have the blessing of the Church and the grace of the Sacrament. When the time comes to seriously think about this, one should be aware of some the requirements:
· Proof of Baptism (especially for the Catholic Party)
· Civil Marriage License
· Completion of Testimonial and Witness Forms
· Granting of any Dispensations or Permissions
· One meeting between the parities and parish priest or pastoral minister
to discuss the couple's understanding of marriage
· Participation in some form of marriage preparation for those married less than 5 years
After meeting with a priest and with the completion of all of the necessary paperwork, a date and time can be set for the ecclesial (Catholic) validation of your civil marriage. The ceremony consists of prayers, Scripture readings, consent of the couple, exchange of vows, blessing and exchange of rings, and the blessing of the couple. The ceremony can be in our chapel with just a few friends and family.
The celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage can be a truly enriching and wonderful moment. If you wish to begin the preparation, or if you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the parish priests at 408-265-4040.