The bond of marriage, by which a man and a woman enter into a communion of life and love, a faithful and permanent union open to the gift of children, is an ancient and ‘honourable estate’ (as the traditional Anglican wedding ceremony puts it), meaning that it predates Christianity and is not something unique to the Church. This is why the Church recognises and honours civil marriages between those who are not baptised.
However, for two baptised people, marriage takes on a sacramental nature. In others words, it has a sign value. The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. The marital home is often described as the ‘domestic Church’. It is to be a place of grace and prayer, an environment in which to encounter Christ’s loving presence.
The grace offered to the couple in this sacrament strengthens and perfects their love for one another. Marriage now raised to the level of a sacrament becomes not only a way to live together and raise children, but a means of salvation.
In a wedding ceremony it is the couple themselves who administer the sacrament, through their exchange of consent. The priest or deacon present stands as an official witness on behalf of the Church community and ensures the sacrament is celebrated validly.
If you or your fiancé is Catholic and you are seeking to get married in the Catholic Church (whether in March, elsewhere in the UK or abroad), please contact us and we will guide you through the process. A minimum of sixth months notice is required.