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; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1601)
From the very beginning of creation, the Lord God said, “it is not good for the man to be alone…that is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.”
A nuptial covenant was established between God and the human family when God said, “I will be your God and you will be my people”. Marriage shares in the mystery and mission of God’s nuptial covenant with the human family when the marriage covenant is accepted by the spouses to be for each other, a gift, a blessing, and a sharing in the growth of the marital union. Marriage is a mystery in that a man and a woman engage the depth of their personhoods to live out their destinies together as well as in an intimate relationship with God in response to the initiative of God's grace in them. Marriage is a mission in so far as the married couple assumes responsibility for each other and for the children given to them as they help sanctify one another by manifesting faith to each other, their children and the commitment in which they live.
Marriage is God’s creation and the work of husbands and wives. It is understood that the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of matrimony by expressing their consent before God and the Church. The minister and the witnesses receive the consent of the groom and bride in the name of the Church and share with the couple the blessing of the church. The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive each other is sealed by God. The covenant between the spouses is thus integrated into God’s covenant with the human family. Authentic married love is caught up into Divine love and made sacred.
In the Roman Catholic dioceses of New Jersey, engaged couples ideally arrange their marriage a year in advance of their wedding date so that there is adequate time for spiritual preparation. To begin the process, you should contact the Parish Office at 732-741-0500. Preliminary information will be taken at that time, including names, addresses, religious affiliation and parish membership of the individuals as well as the requested date for the wedding. A pastoral minister will contact you thereafter to further discuss and confirm arrangements. In addition to a series of the meetings with your pastoral minister engaged couples are requested to participate in two marriage programs: FOCCUS Inventory, this tool enables couples to learn more about themselves, their unique relationship and to identify strengths and weaknesses in their relationship prior to marriage by exploring the areas of lifestyle expectation, communication skills, religious values, etc.; and Engaged Encounter, a weekend away for Engaged Couples to dialogue honestly and intensively about their prospective lives together, their strengths and weaknesses, ambitions, goals and attitudes, or Pre-Cana Conference: Usually a one-day experience centered on the process of listening and group discussions through which the couple manifests and communicates their own feelings about marriage.