The sacrament of marriage is a visible sign of God’s love for the Church. When a man and a woman are married in the Church, they receive the grace needed for a lifelong bond of unity.

Marriage is a Covenant

The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenantal union in the image of the covenants between God and his people with Abraham and later with Moses at Mt. Sinai. This divine covenant can never be broken. In this way, marriage is a union that bonds spouses together during their entire lifetime.

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life. (CCC 1661)

The love in a married relationship is exemplified in the total gift of one’s self to another. It’s this self-giving and self-sacrificing love that we see in our other model of marriage, the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love. (CCC 1662)

The Church takes the lifelong nature of the Sacrament of Marriage seriously. The Church teaches that a break in this covenant teaches goes against the natural law of God:

The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith. (CCC 1665)

God created man and woman out of love and commanded them to imitate his love in their relations with each other. Man and woman were created for each other…Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in marriage both are united in an unbreakable bond.

(United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, Ch. 21, p. 279)

We believe that God exists in eternal communion. Together, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in one being with no beginning and no end. Human beings, likewise, were created by God in God’s image for the purpose of communion with another human being.

Marriage Reflects the Holy Trinity

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (CCC 2205).

The Sacrament of Marriage is “unitive, indissoluble and calls us to be completely open to fertility.” Christian marriage at its finest is a reflection of God’s self-giving love expressed between the love of two people.

Man and woman were created for each other.


Preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage

The celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is an important and memorable occasion in the life of our parishioners, and the striking environment of our church only enhances the celebration. You already know all of the preparation that goes into organizing the wedding celebration, receiving out-of-town guests, and the attending hospitality. And that is only for one day! At St. Veronica Church, our priority is helping to prepare couples for life-long marriage, even as we support your planning for the wedding day. We ask couples to be ready to actively participate in the marriage preparation process. To that end, we ask that the process begin at least nine months in advance of your planned wedding date.

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions about Marriages at St. Veronica Church for more information on scheduling a wedding, securing a date, and all associated planning.

Once the date for your wedding is set and confirmed, here is what you can expect for the Marriage Preparation process. Please note, if you are registered parishioner, marriage preparation will be done here at Sacred Heart, generally by the priest assigned to celebrate your wedding ceremony.

Step 1:
Initial Meeting with the Priest
The purpose of the first meeting is to get to know a little bit about the couple, in a relaxed and conversational manner. Sometime before or after this meeting , you and your fiancé(e) will complete a FOCCUS survey. FOCCUS is an “inventory” survey designed to help couples learn more about themselves and their unique relationship. The survey provides individualized couples feedback on where each partner stands in regards to topics important to the marriage.

Areas of coverage include: lifestyle expectations, problem solving, religion and values, personality match, parenting vision, communication, financial issues, careers, extended family issues, personal issues, marriage as a Covenant, as well as interfaith or denominational issues.

Step 2:
Follow Up Meetings
After the results of the FOCCUS have been processed, there are several follow-up meetings to go over the FOCCUS survey. The follow-up meetings are a facilitated discussion between you and your fiancé(e) based on the results of the survey. During these sessions, there will be ample opportunities to discuss the Sacrament of Marriage, the practical elements of a common life, and spirituality of Christian marriage. In some cases the discussion is with a married couple trained in the survey – in other cases it might be the priest.

Step 3: Pre-Cana
As part of the Marriage preparation process, couples must attend a Pre-Cana class. The classes are an opportunity to delve into the sacramental and spiritual aspects of marriage. The Diocese of St. Petersburg offers a variety of programs that fulfill the Pre-Cana requirement. Descriptions of each program as well as brochures and registration forms for each can be found at the Diocesan Marriage Preparation page. The Marriage Preparation office can also be contacted by calling the office.

Step 4: A Private Conversation
After the FOCCUS meetings and the Pre-Cana meetings, there is a private conversation between the priest and each of you individually. These are conversations intended to ensure that each of you has full freedom to give yourself in marriage.

Step 5: Planning the Wedding Ceremony
And finally, there is a meeting about planning the liturgical aspects of the wedding ceremony itself, music, details, etc. The priest helping prepare you will provide you with a booklet, which outlines the ceremony and will help you plan the liturgical aspects of the ceremony. The assigned musician will help you select music appropriate for your celebration.