Marriage

The sacrament of marriage is a visible sign of God’s love for the Church. When a man and a woman are married in the Church, they receive the grace needed for a lifelong bond of unity.

Marriage is a Covenant

The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenantal union in the image of the covenants between God and his people with Abraham and later with Moses at Mt. Sinai. This divine covenant can never be broken. In this way, marriage is a union that bonds spouses together during their entire lifetime.

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life. (CCC 1661)

The love in a married relationship is exemplified in the total gift of one’s self to another. It’s this self-giving and self-sacrificing love that we see in our other model of marriage, the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love. (CCC 1662)

The Church takes the lifelong nature of the Sacrament of Marriage seriously. The Church teaches that a break in this covenant teaches goes against the natural law of God:

The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith. (CCC 1665)

Marriage Reflects the Holy Trinity

We believe that God exists in eternal communion. Together, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in one being with no beginning and no end. Human beings, likewise, were created by God in God’s image for the purpose of communion with another human being.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (CCC 2205). The Sacrament of Marriage is “unitive, indissoluble and calls us to be completely open to fertility.” Christian marriage at its finest is a reflection of God’s self-giving love expressed between the love of two people.

Three Part Series by Fr. Mario Quejadas - July 2017
Marriage in the Catholic Church

Session # 1

Three weeks ago, I presided at the Sacrament of Marriage for Noelita and Norman Parro. They have been married civilly for more than 15 years. They approached me 5 months ago because they wanted to bear witness that God is present in their marriage.

This process is called convalidation, from the Latin, meaning “to firm up” or “to strengthen.” It is a simple ceremony with the exchange of marriage vows and a blessing of the couple.

In the case of Noelita and Norman, I invited them to attend our Saturday evening Mass. After the Mass they exchanged their vows in the presence of their daughters, mother, and some friends as their witnesses. It was such a lovely occasion.

We have a number of couples who are engaging in this process in the coming months. One couple has been married civilly for 45+ years. They had both been married before and the church had granted them annulments easily. They will celebrate their sacramental marriage in the next few weeks.

There is also a young couple who will marry in a simple, modest ceremony as well. They want to invite the Lord Jesus into their married life.

If you know a couple who has been married civilly and wants to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony to acknowledge the presence of the Lord Jesus in their married life, or they want to get married in church but are afraid to do so because of cost or whatever, please have them connect with me and I will make sure they will feel welcomed with the joy and mercy of the Lord Jesus. There are no stipends asked for a convalidation in our parish and I am very happy to do everything I can to make it a joyous experience for the couple.

Happy Wedding

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Session # 2

This is the second in the series of the Pastor’s Corner dedicated to getting married in the Catholic Church.

Today I want to talk about the trend of young couples wanting a destination wedding. Perhaps you have a son or daughter who wants to get married in Hawaii, a local garden or the reception hall.

Reasons may vary why they have chosen this route. Perhaps their fiancé is not Catholic, or they are saving money, or they like the environment of a particular wedding hall.

Whatever the reason is, it can be disheartening to parents who are practicing their faith and are believers of the Lord Jesus.

When presented this situation, first acknowledge that your son or daughter values marriage - that’s good news! The Bible tells us to celebrate with those who are joyful, so affirm that holy desire. Then tell them how I will work with them in blessing their marriage before that destination wedding. Please have them call me. It’s better for me to explain this route than you. 100% of the time, if I explain it, they will want to journey with me. When parents do it, it is very murky.

I tell these couples that I will move heaven and earth so their marriage is blessed by the Lord Jesus through His body, the Church. If they work with me and get married in a simple ceremony here at St. Walter, I will be present at their destination wedding and renew their vows.

I have some couples this year that I’m preparing for marriage that are choosing this route. They are meeting with me regularly. I will marry them later this year in a simple ceremony (usually after the 5:00 PM Saturday Mass) then at the designated time and place, with loved ones and friends, whether at a hotel, a banquet hall, garden or out of town, I will preside at a renewal of their vows.

It is so very important that we meet people where they are, because the Lord Jesus meets us where we are. Pope Francis calls this the Ministry of Accompaniment. Be with people. Accompany them. See where you can minister to them the love of Christ. Here at St. Walter, we strive to do so.

Happy Wedding

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Session # 3

This is my 3rd and final in the summer series dedicated to choosing to marry in the Catholic Church.

This time I want to talk about the usual things that happen here in our parish when someone asks to get married here. When we receive the first call, the couple is asked to meet with me first so we can establish pertinent information and fill out the Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire which establishes their freedom to marry and information about their Initiation Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.

The key for me here is to make them feel welcome and affirmed in their choice to celebrate their marriage in the church, with God as their witness.

Then they sked to contact Liz Barone, our sacramental secretary, to get the details of the process (affidavits of parents attesting to the couple’s freedom to marry, meeting with the Music Director, setting up the rehearsal time, and the Wedding coordinator, submitting na program, etc.) and also for them to choose who will preside at their wedding among the four priests and three deacons we have.

The most important process is the pre-Cana. It was at the wedding at Cana that the Lord Jesus performed His first miracle. This is the general name for a pre-marital preparation. There are many choices in the Diocese of Joliet or the Archdiocese of Chicago which the couple can attend. They vary in quality and depth.

The best one I know is the Engaged Encounter facilitated by married couples for engaged couples. They discuss topics ranging from finance, number of children, relationship with in-laws, sex life, how to argue well in love, sustaining intimacy, communication, etc.

Here in the USA, 55% of couples do not make it past the first 5 years of marriage. For those who go to some kind of pre-marital preparation, whether civil or religious, the incidence of divorce goes down to 18% in the first 5 years. The best statistic is this: if the couple shares the same faith (whatever it is: Muslim, Christian, etc.) and the caveat is: if they practice it fervently, the incidence of divorce goes down to a single digit: between 6-8%.

No wonder here at St. Walter, we strive to form and equip our couples as they begin the greatest vocation of them all: forming new families.

Make them your joyful disciples, Lord Jesus!

Happy Wedding

 

 

Marriage

God created man and woman out of love and commanded them to imitate his love in their relations with each other. Man and woman were created for each other…Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in marriage both are united in an unbreakable bond. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, Ch. 21, p. 279)