Sacrament of Marriage Preparation Program
Congratulations! You've made the decision to get married. As you prepare for your wedding day, the Church desires to assist you in preparing for your life-long marriage.
"Jesus, who reconciled all things in himself, restored marriage and the family to their original form (cf. Mt 10:1-12). Marriage and the family have been redeemed by Christ (cf. Eph 5:21-32) and restored in the image of the Holy Trinity, the mystery from which all true love flows. The spousal covenant, originating in creation and revealed in the history of salvation, takes on its full meaning in Christ and his Church. Through his Church, Christ bestows on marriage and the family the grace necessary to bear witness to the love of God and to live the life of communion." - Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), On Love in the Family, Section 63, 2016.
Marriage in the Roman Catholic Church
Catholics believe that marriage comes as a gift from the hand of God. The Catholic vision of marriage is rooted in Sacred Scripture and is expressed in the teachings and practices of the Church. It has these main elements:
. Marriage unites a couple in faithful and mutual love.
. Marriage opens a couple to giving life.
. Marriage is a way to respond to God's call to holiness.
. Marriage calls the couple to be a sign of Christ's love in the world.
Marriage is a serious and sacred commitment. This union of a man and woman is the basic unit of human society and of the Church. In this unique relationship, two persons make a solemn commitment to be totally for the other. Therefore, it deserves the most careful attention and preparation. Every marriage shares in God the Father's creative love as an image of the Holy Trinity. Marriage in the Church has been elevated to a sacrament by Christ and gives witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit as it is lived out in the world. Spouses, therefore, enter into a new relationship with God who becomes permanently present in and central to their shared life.
Goal of the Sacrament of Marriage Preparation Program
The goal of the Diocese of Peterborough's Sacrament of Marriage Preparation program is to support engaged couples to discern their call to the sacrament of marriage within the Catholic Church by providing information about the ways this sacrament unites a couple in faithful and mutual love; opens a couple to giving life; supports them in responding to God's call to holiness; and calls the couple to be a sign of Christ's love in the world.
Introduction to Marriage Preparation
"[marriage preparation] ...is a special opportunity for the engaged to rediscover and deepen the faith received in Baptism and nourished by their Christian upbringing. In this way, they come to recognize and freely accept their vocation to follow Christ and to serve the Kingdom of God in the married state." - Familiaris Consortio, 51
The Diocese and parishes of Peterborough welcome all couples who have made the decision to marry in the Catholic Church and wish them the most loving, enriching and deepening experience of their lives. Because the Church desires that each engaged person grasp the unique and multifaceted nature of marriage made holy in Christ and in order to be able to receive the Sacrament freely with the awareness that it includes the promise of fidelity, indissolubility, and openness to children, we make every effort to assist couples as they prepare for this Sacrament. In the Diocese of Peterborough, it is the Christian community, guided by the priests and the diocesan Family Ministries Office which assists in providing marriage preparation for engaged couples.
Preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage
The most important step you can take in preparing for marriage:
Meet with your parish priest: he is your primary guide in your preparation for marriage in the Catholic Church. The meeting will include completing required paper work, gathering specific documents, applying for dispensations (if applicable), and a review of the Sacrament of Marriage Preparation Program with time to begin planning the liturgy.
To be married in the Catholic Church means celebrating a covenant that is spiritually and morally binding. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Church to provide sacrament of marriage preparation for engaged couples. Information on these programs is discussed with the couple at their first meeting with the priest, and a full listing of all currently scheduled programs can be found on the Diocese of Peterborough website. For more information on the Sacrament of Marriage Preparation courses in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peterborough, please email MarriagePrep@peterboroughdiocese.org or 705-745-5123.
Please consult the following resources as you prepare to celebrate the sacrament: