Sacrament of Marriage


The intimate community of life and love between a man and a woman
which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator.
God himself is the author of marriage.
When two Christians enter into marriage in the presence of the Priest then
their marriage is raised to the status of a sacrament, a sign of the love of
Christ which can never be broken. In a sacramental marriage Christ
himself dwells with the husband and wife. He gives them strength to
follow him, to bear together whatever burdens they may be called to
carry, ‘for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health’;,
to love, cherish and forgive one another, and to welcome and educate the
children of the marriage. To enter into a sacramental marriage a couple
must accept the unity and indissolubility of marriage and be open to
To marry in church, here or abroad, you must first approach the Parish
Priest of the parish in which you live, or regularly worship. Only your
Parish Priest has the duty to prepare your paperwork. ( If you worship
regularly here but live outside this parish, I will ask your Parish Priest for
permission). Do not assume that if you book a date for a wedding in
another church (especially abroad) that the priest there will do the
necessary paperwork.
If you have been married before, even if you are a Catholic and the first
marriage was not in church, please do not make any definite
arrangements with regard to the reception, etc. until you have received
clearance from the Diocesan Chancery (which your Parish Priest will apply
You should arrange to meet your Parish Priest at least six months before
your wedding day. Catholics will need to produce a certificate of
baptism issued not more than six months before the wedding, and a
certificate of Confirmation if applicable. You will be advised as to what
other documentation you need according to your circumstances.

You will also be required to attend a pre-marriage course. This is
available through Marriage Care ( but there
may be courses in local parishes as well.


When St Paul described marriage as a great mystery which reflected
Christ’s love for the Church I doubt that he was thinking of a wedding
celebration; more likely of a couple whose relationship had stood the
test of time and was forged in the crucible of reality.
Married life is a journey undertaken together, and the journey is not
always smooth. This does not mean that the marriage is failing but it
could provide an opportunity to put down deeper roots. It may be that
a couple require help, and there are a number of organisations to turn to.
Marriage Care offers relationship counselling, either to couples together
or individuals on their own.

Marriage Encounter offers weekends for couples and those who are
engaged to enrich their lives through improving communication.

Retrouvaille offers weekend sessions to couples who find it difficult to
communicate and even may be thinking that separation and divorce are
the only option.