As the Catholic Catechism so eloquently states:

“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.” (CCC 1601)

God, as the author of marriage, has elevated the institution of marriage to the dignity of a sacrament in the New Law. As a sacrament, the union in marriage of a baptized man and woman is an effective sign of Christ’s generous love and indissoluble union with His Bride, the Church. In marriage, husband and wife unite themselves by mutual consent.

A Christian marriage is a great gift from God and a gift which the Church fervently protects. Married couples are challenged daily to live out faithfully and lovingly those promises exchanged in the marriage ceremony.


Guidelines for Marriage

Due to the importance and sacredness of marriage and because it is a life-long commitment, the Church wishes to make certain that each couple has the opportunity to have the proper preparation for marriage. Since the husband and wife confer the sacrament upon one another, both should have an active role in preparation and planning for the sacrament.

Preparations for marriage must be discussed with the parish priest at least six months prior to the tentative date for the wedding. A date for the wedding should never be finalized prior to speaking with the pastor or deacon. The pastor cannot definitely agree to a date until after the couple has started their Marriage Preparation Program.

Attendance of both parties in either a diocesan Evenings for the Engaged Program or an Engaged Couple Encounter is required as a part of the Marriage Preparation Program. Meeting(s) with a diocesan-approved counselor may also be required.

Due to the need for personal maturity in a Christian marriage, special care and concern must be given to a couple requesting marriage when one or both of the parties has not celebrated his or her eighteenth birthday. The pastor can agree to such a wedding only after receiving a positive report concerning the couple’s readiness from a diocesan-approved counselor and after consultation with the parents of both parties. Likewise, a report from a diocesan-approved counselor will be necessary whenever a pre-marital pregnancy precedes the decision to marry and if either party is not yet eighteen.

Weddings between two Catholics should be celebrated within the context of the Mass. Weddings between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic are to be celebrated outside of Mass. The Eucharist is not to be distributed to those present at such weddings. For pastoral reasons, and at the request of the celebrant of the wedding, permission may be granted for the wedding to be celebrated within the context of Mass.

Weddings between a Catholic and a non-baptized person may not be celebrated within the context of Mass, nor may the Eucharist be distributed to those present.

Weddings, within Mass or outside of Mass, are not celebrated on Saturdays after 1:00 p.m., on Sundays, during the Easter Triduum, or on Holy Saturday after the Vigil.

If the couple wished a minister of another faith to have some part in the ceremony, this may be arranged with the pastor. In very special circumstances, permission can be obtained for a Catholic to marry a person of another religion, in a ceremony other than that of the Catholic Church. There must be a good reason for this request, and advance permission is required.



Sometimes, for various reasons, a couple will attempt marriage contrary to the practice of the Church in regard to the proper form of the marriage. Later, this couple might wish to publicly ask for God’s blessing upon their marriage. The couple should contact the pastor or a deacon concerning this matter. The couple will be required to prepare for their con-validation in a manner determined by their age and circumstances, as outlined by the “Official Policies of the Louisiana Catholic Bishops Concerning Marriage Preparation.”