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The Catholic Church recognizes marriage as a sacred union, permanent and exclusive, which unites a man and woman in love for the whole of earthly life. The love of husband and wife is to be a mirror of Christ's love for the Church: a total, faithful, fruitful, and unconditional love. In addition, the Church teaches that the valid marriage of baptized Christians is a sacrament.

The rite of matrimony, even though it is often surrounded by a very elaborate preparation and investment of both time and money, is in fact a very simple rite. It can take place with the celebration of the Eucharist, the preferred method, or within the context of the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word. In either instance, it is witnessed by a priest or deacon who receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church.

Couples considering marriage should contact the parish at least six months in advance of the intended wedding date to begin the marriage preparation process. This process is designed to help couples assess their readiness for marriage, encourage discussion between the future spouses, and assist in planning the wedding ceremonay and/or Mass.

Click on the following link for additional information on the sacrament of Marriage from American Catholic online:

http://www.americancatholic.org/features/sacraments/Marriage.asp

An additional resource for engaged or married couples: www.foryourmarriage.org

The popular For Your Marriage Web site has launched a redesigned look that includes additional content and several new features. The Website is a major activity under the U.S.Bishops’ priority goal to Strengthen Marriage.The Web site, sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, offers practical information and resources to engaged and married couples. Originally launched in 2007, it has attracted over 850,000 visitors to date. “People are delighted with the depth and diversity of content on the site,” said Sheila Garcia, associate director of the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.“We think the eye-catching graphics and improved navigation make the site even more attractive.”

The redesigned site features a news magazine format, updated graphics and easier navigation. It retains such popular features as About Catholic Marriage, Daily Marriage Tips, Must-Have Conversations, and Marriage Quizzes. It also provides a link so that people can find Catholic marriage information locally.

New features include:

Daily inspirational quotes about marriage drawn from Church documents
A blog by Portland, Oregon, couple Josh and Stacey Noem. The Noems, who are campus ministers at the University of Portland, discuss balancing home and work and handing on the Catholic faith to their three small children.
The widely-read “Sarah’s Blog” will continue as Sarah and her husband prepare for the birth of their first child.
The Marital Virtue of the Month reflects on a particular virtue that is necessary for a holy and happy marriage.