When God made our first parents, they were united in marriage: a lifelong union between a
man and woman that is free, faithful, and fruitful. Marriage is not a human invention, but a
gift from God and the foundation of human society.
As part of his work of re-creation, Jesus established Holy Matrimony as a sacrament. And so
when a baptized man and woman are married, they become a living sign of the love between
Christ and his Church.
Because Holy Matrimony is such an important part of God’s plan for our salvation, the
Catholic Church takes great care to support those preparing for marriage, to celebrate this
sacrament according to approved rites, and to provide pastoral care for families.
Catholics preparing for marriage should remember that they have an obligation to obey the
marriage laws of the Church. In particular, a Catholic must have a Catholic wedding to enter
into a valid marriage. (Catholics who have entered into an invalid union can speak with the
parish priest about the possibility of having the situation remedied through a convalidation.)
Because there are a number of things that must be done before a wedding can be celebrated,
members of the faithful seeking to enter into Holy Matrimony should not delay in contacting
the parish priest (and, in fact, would be wise to do so before booking a venue for a reception)