THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE
Congratulations that you are considering the vocation of marriage! The plan of God for Christian marriage begins with a vision of the wholeness of the human person. As Genesis states: “In the divine image God created them, male and female.” (Gen. 1:27) With all the dignity and sacredness of life and sexuality, man and woman witness to the wonder and graciousness of God. Entering into marriage is a response to God’s call or vocation for the man and woman to become “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24) in a mutual self-giving. The couple then becomes the symbol of the covenant that binds God and humankind together in a permanent and faithful covenant. Pope Benedict XVI in his Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est states that ‘love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined, human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness.
The Catholic Faith trusts that when a man and a woman stand before the community to marry each other, the couple will make a free commitment to join lives fully and completely in a life-long faithful covenant that is fruitful in deepening their relationship and in accepting children. Through these holy vows, God will promise to be with them to sustain them on their journey together, and to help them love each other with God’s very own love.
Engaged couples should have adequate time to prepare in a serious way for marriage. Our Parish and Diocese Policy requires that couples register for marriage with the parish at least six months in advance of the wedding date. No date for marriage is final until all canonical preparation and requirements have been completed.
How we prepare for marriage at St. Anthony of Padua and in the Diocese of Tucson
- Fill out a Marriage Registration Form.
- Fill out a Diocese of Tucson Prenuptial Inquiry; You should know the answers to all the questions, but if you get confused call the parish administrative assistant at 520.836.0601.
- Each person should present a recently issued Baptismal certificate (6 months) which would include notation of other sacraments. You can obtain this document by calling or writing the parish that you were baptized at and having them mail the form to you or the parish. It is important that this certificate be current within the last six months because the form will note on the back what sacraments you have received.
- Two affidavits of Freedom to Marry; Your parents, aunts, uncles, siblings and long-time friends can fill out these affidavits. It is important that you find someone who has known you during the period of time that you have been eligible for marriage. These affidavits should be filled out in front of a parish priest, deacon or appointed staff member.
- After filling our these documents, make an appointment to meet with a parish priest; call 520.836.0601.
- You can receive a wedding date after meeting with the parish priest.
Parish Marriage preparation
St. Anthony of Padua Parish has a very active marriage preparation program headed by our parish deacons and married couples. The marriage preparation program covers Catholic teaching about marriage including marital morality. The program also asks that you prepare yourselves by discussing:
- Couples should have an understanding of how their families have influenced them regarding life and love.
- Couples should discuss what they expect and hope to receive from their married sexual love.
- Discussions on children should include the need to be open on how the couple would handle an unexpected or difficult pregnancy; or how they would manage discovering they are not able to have biological children.
- Discussions should include such topics as values, habits about money, debt, possessions, and career.
- How to make decisions and problem-solve together with love, common sense, good communication, and humor should be explored.
- “Red flags” indicating possible problem areas – like substance abuse, domestic violence, rape, abortion, or sexual abuse – are important to discuss.
The preparation time is not just a “waiting period” for the ceremony, but rather an important, teachable moment in preparation for the lifetime journey on which the couple is about to embark. Each faith community is advised to publish the required preparation time in its bulletin on a regular basis.