The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
The Sacrament of Matrimony joins two people in marriage for a lifetime of dedication to each other’s well-being and the well-being of their children and the community. It celebrates the Christian vocation of service and consecrates us to minister within our own family and within the wider church community. By giving love to each other, the couple enters into a covenant; the covenant of love they share is a mirror of God’s love for his people and the consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.
To be holy is to be like God; the best way to become like God is to become people of love. The love of a married couple is a reflection, a “sacrament” of God’s love. Marriage is not just the promises of one human partner to another. It is also God’s promise that in their mutual love the couple can be certain to find Him.
The Sacrament of Matrimony ideally takes place during a Eucharistic liturgy. Those being married are the ministers of Christ’s grace and mutually confer the Sacrament upon each other by expressing their consent in the presence of the Church. The necessary elements in celebrating the sacrament include: the freedom of consent– that is a free act of the will on the part of each of the parties, which involves a lifelong, exclusive commitment, and openness to children. A priest or deacon assists at the celebration and witnesses attest that marriage is an ecclesial reality. The grace of the Sacrament aims at creating deep personal unity; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in mutual giving and is open to fertility (CCC, 1621-1654)
Couples desiring to be married should contact the parish office 12 months prior to the anticipated wedding date. At least one of the parties must be a practicing Catholic and a member of St. Francis parish. Various diocesan programs and documents are required for marriage preparation in the Diocese of Fort Worth. These must be completed 60 days in advance of the Wedding Date, and include the following:
- Prenuptial Questionnaire
- Baptismal (or Profession of Faith, for converts to Catholicism) Records for Groom and/or Bride, if Catholic issued within the last six months from the parish of Baptism
- Witness Affidavit of Freedom to Marry (2 for Bride & 2 for Groom)
- Petition for Dispensation or Permission (Needed if a Catholic is marrying a Non-Catholic, or if the couple is getting married outside the Fort Worth Diocese)
- For Marriages occurring outside the Fort Worth Diocese, we will need the complete name and address of the parish, as well as the name of the priest
- Proof that Marriage Preparation has been completed, including:
- Pre-Cana Certificate of Completion
- Fully Engaged Sponsor Couple Program Complete (done at St. Francis)
- Natural Family Planning Full Course Completion Certificate
- Copy of the Marriage License (Marriage License in the State of Texas are good for 90 days)
- TwoGether in Texas Certificate for $60 off marriage license fee if prep is done in time
- Letter of Good Standing (only for visiting priests who are not of the Diocese of Fort Worth or Dallas)
Catholics married in civil ceremonies or in non-Catholic churches, who seek to have their marriage recognized by the Catholic Church must also complete marriage preparation requirements. These are determined by the Pastoral Team.
Weddings are scheduled through the Deacon Tom, the Director of Marriage & Family Life, and can be scheduled up to 12 months in advance. Scheduling is subject to the availability of the church and the clergy of St. Francis. Weddings are held at 11:00 am or 2:00 pm on Saturdays throughout the year.
Please contact Deacon Tom Bates, Director of Marriage & Family Life, at email@example.com to discuss all marriage preparation and wedding requirements.