The sacrament of matrimony joins an unmarried man and an unmarried woman as husband and wife. They exchange vows agreeing to be faithful to each other until the death of one of the partners. The ordinary ministers of the sacrament of matrimony are the couple, who administer the sacrament to each other. This must take place in the presence of a priest or deacon who has been authorized by the bishop to do so, and there must be two official witnesses, usually a man and a woman. Ordinarily matrimony is celebrated at Mass in a Catholic church, but a shorter prayer service for the sacrament is sometimes used in place of Mass. However, there is always the exchange of vows.
In order for a marriage to be a valid sacrament, the individuals must be free to marry, and they must give their full, informed consent to what they are doing. When the Church issues an annulment, it isn’t a dissolution of a marriage the way civil divorce is the dissolution of a civil contract. It is a statement by the Church that what appeared to be the sacrament of matrimony at the wedding ceremony lacked some essential ingredient (usually informed consent) to make the wedding a valid sacrament.
To schedule a wedding, at least one of the persons should be a registered and active parishioner for four months or more. Please contact the wedding coordinator at the parish office at least six months prior to the anticipated wedding date.