The Sacrament of Marriage is a blessed vocation, a calling, from Our Lord. Falling in love is an exciting and beautiful moment in the life of two people. When a couple responds to that calling, the Church wants to support them in every way possible.
Marriage is built on two cornerstones: love and commitment. Love draws people together. Commitment is their promise to stay together. As a vocation, a sacramental marriage is different from a civil marriage. While a Church wedding in the United States encompasses all the legal particulars, we are also concerned with the deeper elements of marriage. A sacramental marriage is one in which two people, by their love for each other, become living symbols of God’s love for His People. God loves us with a love that is unending and unconditional. He loves us through all the ups and downs, joys and disappointments we experience. The love between husband and wife is intended to be lived out in the very same way.
Some characteristics of a sacramental marriage are:
Faith is a value in the relationship. Even if a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, there is an expectation of an openness to a real and vital relationship with God. Even if a couple is not currently practicing their faith, the beginning of a new life together is an ideal time to strengthen their life in the Lord.
Personal maturity, the ability to competently make life-long decisions in a mentally, emotionally and spiritually mature way is necessary. For both individuals, the ability to make a decision of this magnitude cannot be obstructed by mental health challenges, alcoholism, drug, pornography or gambling addiction, or any other challenge that might get in the way of making a clear and healthy decision.
Freedom to marry in the Church has certain criteria. If either individual has been married previously, this must be discussed immediately with parish clergy in order to know if certain Church procedures must be undertaken. It is absolutely critical that any previous marriage, in church or not, is shared.
Four general questions that reach the heart of the sacramentality of a marriage:
- Do you promise to enter into a marriage that is for life?
- Do you promise fidelity to each other?
- Are you open to having children?
- Do you enter into this marriage of your own free will?
If the above criteria are reached, the Church would say this is a sacramental marriage we want to support, not only for the wedding day, but for the entire marriage. It is a joy in which the entire Church shares!
All wedding arrangements must be made with a parish priest or deacon at least four months prior to the desired date. One of the parties or members of their immediate family should be registered at St. George Parish six months prior to arranging a wedding. All couples must take part in a program of marriage preparation which includes meetings with one of the parish clergy, Pre-Cana, and FOCCUS survey. A wedding offering for Saint George Parish is customary.
More information may be found in the Saint George Wedding Booklet.
Call the parish office at 708-532-2243 to arrange an appointment with one of the clergy.