Sacraments of matrimony


Marriage is a “covenant or partnership of life between a man and woman, which is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children. When validly contracted between two baptized people, marriage is a sacrament” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1601).

Sacred Scripture:
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman as spouses in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a glorious vision of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. In other words, the whole of creation and redemption is a marriage between God and His people, and for this reason St. Paul teaches that the union of husband and wife is an image or icon of the union between Christ and His Church (Eph 5:25-32).St. John tells us that the first miracle worked by the Lord Jesus was at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11), thus revealing the intimate connection between the messianic mission of Christ and the dignity of marriage, which is the one blessing of God not lost by original sin or washed away in the flood. The bond of husband and wife, however, was disfigured by sin (like everything else in nature), and requires the grace of Christ to be purified, healed, and restored to its original dignity.

Because of the weakness of human nature after sin, Moses permitted the children of Israel to repudiate the solemn covenant of marriage, but the Lord Jesus restored the original pattern of spousal love by revealing that the true bond of marriage, once begun by the mutual consent of the spouses, can never be broken in this life.

By restoring the original order of creation, Jesus was not giving us a burden too heavy to carry, because He Himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage as a permanent union by following Him in the Way of the Cross, renouncing oneself, and living for the sake of the other. The grace of sacramental marriage is a fruit of Christ’s holy Cross, the source of all Christian life.

Minister of the sacrament:
Unlike the other six sacraments which are all administered by a bishop, priest, or deacon, the sacrament of matrimony is administered by the husband and wife to each other; the priest or deacon is merely the Church’s witness who blesses the union created by the exchange of consent. The marriage bond, created only by those who are truly free by God’s law to marry, is an irrevocable covenant which binds the spouses to each other for life, and the sacrament of matrimony conveys the special grace necessary to strengthen them for lifelong fidelity and growth in holiness.

Christ dwells with the spouses and gives them the grace to take up their crosses daily, to rise again after they fall, to forgive one another, to bear each other’s burdens, to be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ, and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love.

To be married at St Peter:
To be married at St. Peter Church either the bride or groom must be a practicing Catholic, registered at this parish before beginning the six month marriage preparation, and regularly attending Mass and participating in the life of the parish. The only exception to this rule is made for Catholic children of registered and active parishioners who live outside Higganum/Haddam and who are practicing Catholics in their own parish. You need to call the rectory and talk to the priest one year or at least 6 months before the intended date of your wedding and before you make any other arrangement for your marriage.

Weddings take place on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. 12:00 noon or 2:00 p.m. outside of Advent and Lent.

Pre-Cana is a Catholic course on marriage. Engaged couples need to take part in the course before they can be married in the Catholic Church. Pre-Cana is nothing to be nervous or scared about. Married Catholic couples give presentations on various topics to educate and support you as you enter marriage. You might play games as a fun way to learn about your soon to be husband or wife. A priest will probably discuss the importance of the fact that in Catholicism, marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament is an outward sign of Christ's love.  Pre-Cana is mandatory because marriage is taken very seriously in the Catholic Church. You should know about everything possible before committing yourself. Take this opportunity to learn about your future mate and marriage.

The wedding couple must call the rectory one year or at least six months before the marriage to find out the possibilities of doing the Pre-cana. There are four options available for Marriage Preparations Please call the Office of Family Life at 860-889-8346 ext 283 for more information or St. Peter Church Office at (860) 345-8018 for a brochure. MARRIAGE REGULATION AT ST PETER CHURCH:

Pre-Matrimonial Investigation: Three months prior to your wedding date, you must arrange an appointment with a priest for a pre-matrimonial investigation. You will need the following if you are a Roman Catholic.

1. Baptismal Certificate from the Church in  which you were baptized (must be dated within the past six months.) 2. First Holy Communion Certificate
3. Confirmation Certificate.

Please contact the parish in which these sacraments were administered and ask that copies of the certificates be forwarded to you. Any Non-Catholic Christian should try to obtain a copy of his or her Baptismal Certificate.

Other Parishes:
Those from other parishes must obtain permission from their Pastor before making a reservation for a wedding at St Peter's. They must also arrange for Pre-C ana classes with their respective Parishes.

Marriage Licence:The Marriage License may be obtained from any town in Connecticut. Apply for this license one month before the wedding date. The marriage license must be presented to the priest at or before the rehearsal.

The Music Director of Saint Peter Church is responsible for all wedding music. All couples must contact Mr. Richard Donohue at (860-635-5414) at their earliest convenience. Mr. Donohue will gladly assist you in planning music for your wedding in accordance with Diocesan Guidelines. He can also be very helpful in contacting vocalists and instrumentalists.

Alter Servers:Altar Servers assist at a wedding Mass only. We ask that a courtesy gift of $10.00 be given to each altar server. If you have a relative that would like to serve at the wedding, they are welcome to do so. Please inform the rectory at your earliest convenience.

Flowers - Center Aisle Runner:Flowers, the aisle runner, etc. are handled by the florist of your choosing. The length of the aisle is 50 1/2 feet. If flowers are placed in the Sanctuary, it is only proper that you leave them for the honor and glory of God and to add to the beauty to the Church’s Altar and Sanctuary. Aisle bows should be secured by elastic bands or pew holders, but not taped to the pews.

The rehearsal time and date are set after the pre-matrimonial investigation. All rehearsals must begin on time and end on time, since another rehearsal may be scheduled immediately following. Please inform your wedding party of this procedure. We ask that you and your guests keep in mind that you are in God’s House, a holy place. Proper respect and etiquette are to be observed.

You must bring the following with you to the rehearsal:
1. Marriage License
2. Gift for the altar servers 3. Donation for St Peter Church

Photographers, videographers, etc. may take pictures from the side doors of the sanctuary and are welcome to use the choir loft. Photographers are not allowed in the sanctuary at any time. Photographers are not to delay the start of the wedding or interfere in any way with the ceremony. You may return to the Church to take pictures following your receiving line, if you wish. Photo sessions must be completed in accordance with the following schedule:

10:00 a.m.   Wedding Completed by 11:30 a.m. 12:00 Noon Wedding Completed by 1:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m. Wedding Completed by 3:30 p.m.

Confetti, Etc.:
As a matter of courtesy, we absolutely insist that no confetti, rice, birdseed, flower petals, etc., be thrown at the entrance of the church or in the street. Please inform your wedding party and guests of this policy.

Arrival of the Bride and Bride's Maids:
It is customary for the bride to arrive at the church five minutes prior to the wedding time and to proceed down the aisle precisely at the arranged time. It is discourteous to keep guests and all involved waiting for the arrival of the bride. Any so-called traditions or customs contrary to this should be dismissed as a courtesy to all involved.

Arrival of the Groom, Best Man and Ushers:It is customary for the groom and the best man to go to the sacristy of the church 30 minutes prior to the wedding time. Ushers are to be ready to assist and seat the invited guests 30 minutes prior to the wedding time.

Should you cancel or have need to change the date of your wedding, please contact St. Peter Church immediately so that your banns will not be announced in the Church bulletin, and your time can be made available to another couple.

Questions and Concerns:
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the above guidelines, please do not hesitate to St. Peter church rectory at (860) 345-8018 for clarification.