God’s Plan for Marriage
The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenant, which is more than a contract. Covenant always expresses a relationship between persons. The marriage covenant refers to the relationship between the husband and wife, a permanent union of persons capable of knowing and loving each other and God. The celebration of marriage is also a liturgical act, appropriately held in a public liturgy at church. Catholics are urged to celebrate their marriage within the Eucharistic Liturgy.
Catholics believe that the sacrament of marriage (also called "Holy Matrimony") comes as a gift from the hand of God. In a permissive culture, the Catholic vision of marriage is countercultural: it is rooted in Sacred Scripture and is expressed in the teachings and practices of the Church. It has these main elements:
- Marriage unites a couple in faithful and mutual love
- Marriage opens a couple to giving life
- Marriage is a way to respond to God’s call to holiness
- Marriage calls the couple to be a sign of Christ’s love in the world
Tools For Building A Domestic Church
According to the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “The family, is so to speak, the domestic church.” (Lumen Gentium #11) This means that it is in the context of the family that we first learn who God is and to prayerfully seek His will for us. In the following bullet points you will find some suggestions on how to build your “domestic church” through a life of prayer that can help all the members of your family.
Begin praying as a family and reading from Scripture daily, certainly before meals, but also first thing in the morning or before bed. Find a time that works for your family. Use the liturgy of the Church as a model for prayer, and try to include heartfelt unstructured prayer as well.
- Pray a Family Rosary (each member leads a decade, and everyone shares intentions).
- Have a crucifix in a prominent place in the home, and in every bedroom.
- Make the Sacraments a regular celebration – take the whole family to Confession and Mass!
- Begin family traditions based on the seasons celebrated in the liturgical calendar.
- Make your vacation a holy pilgrimage by visiting the shrines and saints of our land and the world.
- Make worshiping God a priority. Never miss Mass, even while traveling – go to: www.MassTimes.org to find a church near you!
- Teach stewardship and charity to your children, through word and example.
- Demonstrate love for your spouse, your children, your neighbors, and the world. Remind their children that they are loved by God and have been given gifts to serve others.
- Talk freely about the presence of God in the joys and sorrows of your life.
- Welcome into your home and support priests, brothers, sisters, deacons, and lay ministers in the Church.
- Participate in the lay ministries and activities of your parish community.
- Allow your children to witness you in private prayer. Encourage your children to pray daily on their own, to listen for God’s call, and if heard, to respond.
For more ideas on how to build your home as a Domestic Church, go to: www.domestic-church.com.
Engaged couples participate in the marriage preparation process to help nurture their relationship. Please contact the Parish Secretary at least 6 months in advance of the date you desire for the wedding to begin the preparation process.