The marriage covenant prefigures the new and everlasting covenant between the Son of God and all mankind. Through this sacrament, Christians signify and share in the mystery of the unity and fruitful love that exists between Christ and his church. Christian couples are to strive to nourish and develop their marriage by undivided affection in good times and in bad; they bear fruit for God’s kingdom by having their children baptized and reared as practicing Catholics.
In viewing Christian marriage as a sacrament, the Catholic Church holds marriage in highest esteem. The particular sacramental grace of matrimony “is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they ‘help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.’
Requirements for the Sacrament of Marriage
Both parties to an intended marriage must be free to marry before a wedding date can be set.
In the Catholic Church, a previously married person is not free to marry unless his or her former spouse has died or the prior marriage has been declared “null” (i.e., not a sacrament) by the Catholic Church.
This applies to prior marriages between two Catholics, a Catholic and a non-Catholic and also between two non-Catholics.
To petition for an annulment of a previous marriage which has ended in divorce, contact a priest or the diocesan Tribunal Office at 724-837-0901.
A person bound by sacred vows to priesthood or religious life is not free to marry unless formally released from such vows through proper church processes.
- Catholics who, without church dispensation, have been married at a wedding not officiated by a Catholic priest, may have their marriage validated as a sacrament (even if a non-Catholic party in such a marriage does not wish to cooperate). Contact the pastor.
- Couples requesting sacramental marriage in the Diocese of Greensburg are expected to begin marriage preparation one year in advance of the wedding date. Extraordinary circumstances will be taken into consideration for exceptions.
- Call the parish office (724-423-4431) to set a wedding date and to begin the marriage preparation process. You must talk directly with the pastor to set your date and begin preparation, even if another priest will be handling the wedding.
- Wedding dates for couples who are non-parishioners will be tentative until one year before the wedding, and will be guaranteed thereafter. Until then, parishioner couples who request the same date will be given precedence.
- Saturday weddings normally will be at 2:00 pm. All wedding personnel, paraphernalia and photographers should be out of the church not later than 3:30 pm. Only one wedding will be scheduled on Saturday. Weddings and validations of marriages can be scheduled for any day except Sunday.
- Priests, other than the pastor, may officiate at a wedding here or co-preside with the pastor if they are qualified. Non-Catholic ministers of a non-Catholic party may also have a part in the ceremony.
- A Catholic seeking the bishop’s approval to marry a non-Catholic Christian in a non-Catholic Christian church by a non-Catholic Christian minister must apply for a dispensation from the required form. The marriage preparation process and requirements are otherwise the same as those for couples intending to marry in a Catholic Church with a priest officiating.
The marriage preparation process consists of the following components:
- Three meetings with the pastor or officiating priest.
- Use of FOCCUS: A marriage preparation survey to facilitate open communication by the couple on a wide range of marital issues.
- Six to eight hours of preparation with married couple(s) in one of the following programs:
- Sponsor Couple Program
- Evenings for Engaged Couples
- Group meeting offered elsewhere in the Deanery, Greensburg Diocese or Pittsburgh Diocese.
- Catholic Engaged Encounter
- Weekend offered elsewhere in Greensburg or Pittsburgh dioceses