Marriage

Letter from the Pastor  on The Sacrament of Matrimony 

Dear Newly Engaged, 

Congratulations on your good news. Know I will be willing to pray with you and help guide you as you discern and prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage. I invite you to begin this journey by taking the time to discover more clearly the reality of the Sacrament in which  you seek. The following information may be beneficial for you so please take the time to read:   

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is an act of worship, prayer and covenant. As such it is not to be approached or taken lightly. It is an act which speaks not simply to you as a couple, but also to the community. In this sacrament the two of you GIVE the sacrament to each other. Unlike the other sacraments in which the Priest is the "giver" of the sacrament, in matrimony the "givers" are the two people who are pledging and giving their lives to and for each other.
As an act of worship you are called to celebrate your wedding in the community from which you come or which you will live. Your choice of the St. Thomas, The Apostle Church should be based out of this. Properly speaking you should not be choosing the St. Thomas, The Apostle Church simply because you think it is pretty or for the grandeur or mystique of being married at "St. Thomas, The Apostle Church." You, the couple, are called to "preach" to the community through the celebration of your marriage. Your marriage is a sign and symbol of your faith to other people. Just as the community helps you, so you help the community by celebrating your marriage in their midst.
As an act of prayer you are called to take the time and effort to work with the staff and members of St. Thomas, The Apostle Church to compose the liturgy of your wedding; to select the music, readings, prayers that will be used, which speak of and to your faith and love, in Christ and in each other.
As an act of covenant you are called to take the time and effort to not only fulfills the required retreats and classes, but also to hold sacred the daily sharing of each of yourselves with the other. On the day of your wedding you should be able to easily say that you are marrying your best friend.  For additional information regarding weddings at the St. Thomas, The Apostle Church, please contact our Parish Office, at 361-387-1312.

In Christ,

Father Bill Marquis

                                              
The St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Faith Community  is dedicated to making  your marriage preparation a joy-filled and beneficial experience.  

The Sacrament of Matrimony (Marriage) is the natural way in which man and woman freely express their innate desire to give completely of self to the other. The Catechism of the Scripture describes marriage as “the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church.” Just as Christ gives of Himself freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully to the Church, so husband and wife are to imitate that model of selfless self-donation.

In order to make a free, total, faithful and fruitful commitment to each other, the Catholic Church asks couples to enter into the period of marriage preparation with a spirit of discernment: is God calling me to marriage, and if so, is God calling me to be married to this person? It is critical that an engaged couple see marriage prep through this lens and not as “requirements to satisfy” or “hoops to jump through” before getting married in the Catholic Church. We ask each couple to contact the parish at least six months prior to the marriage so that a fruitful period of discernment might take place.

Steps for Marriage Preparation:

1.) Contact the parish and make an appointment with Father Bill.
2.) In the initial meeting the priest will discuss the requirements for marriage preparation.

At St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Parish, we ask each engaged couple to participate in the following:

Focus - this is a survey that facilitates open communication and understanding covering many areas of the couple’s relationship with the goal being to helps them to gauge their communication in those areas.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) –  Natural Family Planning. NFP is a way of following God’s plan for achieving and/or avoiding pregnancy. It consists of ways to achieve or to avoid pregnancy using the physical means that God has built into human nature. It is important for all couples to understand that artificial contraception is, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, “intrinsically evil”, meaning that it is never acceptable under any condition at any time. This is because it completely inverts God’s plan for marriage and sexuality, and takes a selfless act and makes it selfish. For more information on the harmful effects of artificial contraception, please visit: http://www.janetsmith.excerptsofinri.com/

Engaged Encounter -  Engaged Encounter is an investment in your future. It is a weekend for engaged couples who are not civilly married or cohabitating. - See more at: http://diocesecc.org web page by clicking on     www.diocesecc.org/EEOnline     

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PreCana  - This is a one-day marriage preparation seminar for the engaged. It is a day designed to inform couples of the spiritual and practical aspects of Catholic marriage. - See more by going to   http://diocesecc.org/  web page or click on www.diocesecc.org/PreCana 


 Required Paperwork:   (Fr Bill will guide You)

Updated baptismal certificate (not the original) to be issued within six months of the wedding. This is done by contacting the parish in which you were baptized and requesting it. For non-Catholic Christians, if possible, obtain a copy of your original baptismal certificate.

Prenuptial questionnaire

Affidavit of Free Status to marry in the Catholic Church

If either party has been previously married in or outside the Roman Catholic Church, a decree of nullity must have been issued by a diocesan tribunal. No definite wedding plans will be made until an annulment is granted. The priest will gladly assist you in preparation if this is needed.

For mixed marriages (between a Catholic and non-Catholic), permission/dispensation needs to be granted by the Bishop.

Wedding Ceremony:

For the wedding ceremony itself and all the logistics regarding flowers, music, photography, etc.,  Although he is NOT a wedding planner, Fr Bill will help you with the Liturgy itself and explain the guidelines for the proper Liturgical Environment based upon the Time of years as well as explain the guidelines for musicians, photographers, etc... 

It is customary to make a donation to Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic parish to help defray expenses (paperwork, air conditioning, etc.). The usual donation for an active, tithing parishioner is $200.00. If you are not an active, tithing parishioner, there is a fee of $300.00 for the use of the church facility. If you are having your marriage con-validated (blessed) and will not be using the main church, there is a $50.00 offering. It is also customary to give a stipend to the presiding priest or deacon. If the wedding takes place at the St Patrick's Mission in San Patricio, Texas, the usual donation for an active, tithing parishioner is $100.00. If you are not an active, tithing parishioner, the offering is $150.00 for use of the mission facility church,

Con-Validation: Special circumstances may arise where a couple will get married civilly and then request a Catholic Marriage.  This is called a Con-Validation.  This is not the norm and is not recommended by the Catholic Church, but it is accepted in our Church as a viable way to help those who have already participated in a civil ceremony and now find themselves wanting a Catholic marriage.  In the case of a con-validation the couple would be reciting their vows for the first time before God.  It is NOT a blessing or renewing of the civil marriage vows.  All con-validations require you to meet with Fr Bill and go through marriage preparation.   




                  


 
 

 

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.