The Sacrament of 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 Mount Sinai.  This divine covenant can never be broken.  In this way, marriage is a union that bonds spouses together during their entire lifetime.

Matrimony Image (1)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 is 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 believes in the lifelong nature of the sacrament of Marriage.  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.

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)

Weddings at St. Mary’s Assumption Church (also see WEDDING GUIDELINES link below for more details)

Arrangements should be made a minimum of six months in advance of a wedding date.  Weddings in church on Saturday are to be completed no later than 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon or can begin between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.  Friday weddings can begin anytime in the later afternoon up to 8:00 p.m.

Special note if you are not a parish member:  Couples request to be married at St. Mary’s Assumption Church for a variety of reasons.  We welcome such weddings (in accordance with Archdiocesan policies and those of St. Mary’s Assumption).  You are encouraged to invite your pastor or a priest or deacon (relative, family friend, etc.) who is in good standing to preside at your wedding.  Note that at least one party must be Catholic in order for a wedding to be celebrated in a Catholic church.

Some important points for your wedding celebration:

  1. Permission:  If you are not a registered member of our parish and do not live within our parish boundaries you will need a letter of permission from the pastor of one of the Catholic people getting married here and ask for written permission to marry outside of your parish.
  2. Preparation:  Invite the pastor, assistant pastor, deacon or other priest to officiate at your wedding.  The minister who agrees to officiate will ordinarily be the one responsible for taking you through the marriage preparation program and fulfilling all Archdiocesan rules regarding publication of banns, obtaining dispensations for a mixed marriage, an annulment if previously married, etc.  If you have no one to do so, one of the priests of St. Alphonsus will be happy to work with you through your marriage preparation as well as celebrate your wedding. Please note that if the presider or any other minister who will take part in the ceremony is from outside of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, he will need a letter of suitability to minister in this Archdiocese from his Ordinary and if he is from outside the state of Louisiana he will need to register with the state of Louisiana to civilly marry anyone in this state.

A couple planning to be married at St. Mary’s Assumption Church or St. Mary’s Chapel should make arrangements with us at least 6 months in advance.  A conversation with one of our parish priests is needed first to discuss necessary preparations.  Only the priest can confirm your wedding date.  It is wise to check on available dates for the church or chapel before making any firm commitments or other wedding arrangements.

The couple is required to meet periodically with the priest or deacon officiating at their wedding and attend Pre-Cana or the Archdiocesan sponsored Days for the Engaged.  The couple will also work with the parish music director and cantor in planning the ceremony.  Any questions concerning the church’s rules or regulations on marriage should be directed to the parish priest so as to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

Please contact the Parish Office at (504) 522-6748 for available dates and times and for additional information on how to schedule your wedding.

Wedding Guidelines