Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman that establishes a partnership for life. It is a vocation that fosters the good of spouses and naturally leads to the procreation and education of children. It is a Sacrament. A valid sacramental marriage within the church presupposes freedom to marry, freedom from force, an intention to fidelity and unconditional commitment; openness to the possibility of children, God willing; and the presence of an official witness of the Church—normally a priest, deacon or bishop. Couples contemplating marriage within the Diocese of Harrisburg need to begin the preparation process at least nine to twelve months before the tentative marriage date, and need to complete all the requirements of the Diocesan Common Policy for Marriage Preparation at least a month before the proposed marriage. This is to allow us to focus not simply on the wedding being planned, but the marriage that we hope to celebrate for decades to come. Cohabitation is a moral and societal problem. Societally, the divorce rate is higher among couples that live together than among couples who only come to live together with marriage. Morally, premarital relations are a sin and living together can cause real scandal. The Church strongly opposes cohabitation. Should a couple find themselves in such a situation, they should seriously consider getting married or going their separate ways. Should they decide to marry, they will be encouraged to separate until they are married when they can indeed come together as man and wife. To make arrangements to get married, contact the Rectory Office 637-2721 at least 9-12 months before the date of marriage.
THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament." CCC 1601
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of "the wedding-feast of the Lamb." Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its "mystery," its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal "in the Lord" in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church. CCC 1602