The sacrament of Matrimony / Marriage "is established by covenant, the irrevocable consent that the spouses freely give to and receive from each other." Marriage is a sign of the bond between Christ and the Church, and married couples are "to strive to nurture and foster their union in equal dignity, mutual giving and the undivided love that flows from the diveine font of charity. In this way, uniting divine and human realities, they persevere in good times and in bad, faithful in body and mind (Order of Celebrating Matrimony).
Marriages between two Catholics should normally occur within Mass, while marriages between a Catholic and a non-Catholic should normally occur without Mass.
Marriages may be celebrated during any season of the church year except Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil). Our diocesan custom is that marriages within or without Mass are not usually celebrated on Sundays.
When celebrating marriage on Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, on Solemnities, on the days within the Octave of Easter, on the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day), on Ash Wednesday, and during Holy Week, the Mass day is used with its own Scripture readings, with inclusion of the Nuptial Blessing and, if appropriate, the proper formula for the final blessing. Nevertheless, since a Liturgy of the Word adapted for the celebration of marriage has a great impact in the handing on of catechesis about the Sacrament itself and about the duties of the spouses, when the Ritual Mass for the Celebration of Marriage is not said, one of the readings may be taken from the texts provided for the celebration of marriage. Participation in the Ritual Mass for the Celebration of marriage, or in the Rite of Marriage within the Mass of the Day, fulfills a Holy Day of obligation.
Marriage preparation Pre-Cana Days are offered at several parishes and retreat centers for engaged couples who are marrying for the first time. Catholic Charities' Marriage & Family Ministry gathers information on these opportunities on their website.
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