"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." (Code of Canon Law)
In all civilizations people have sensed a mysterious sacredness about the union of man and woman. There has always been a vague realization that the deep longing for oneness with "the other" is life-giving - and that it is a longing for oneness with the source of all life.
Jesus made marriage the sacrament of matrimony, giving matrimony a new dimension to the Christian vocation that begins in baptism. In matrimony a husband and wife are called to love each other in a very practical way: by serving each other's most personal needs; by working seriously at communicating their personal thoughts and feelings to each other so their oneness is always alive and growing. This love is explicitly, beautifully sexual.
In matrimony a couple is also called to live their sacrament for others. By their obvious closeness, a couple affects the lives of others with "something special" - the love of Christ in our midst. They reveal Christ's love and make it contagious to their children and to all who come into contact with them. A major purpose and natural outcome of matrimony is procreation or the beginning of new life - children. But a couple's love also validates the life of Christ's Spirit to other people. A couple does not live a life of love because they happen to be compatible. They do it consciously and deliberately because it is their vocation.
Matrimony is much more that a private arrangement between two people. It is a sacramental vocation in and for the Church. It is a method through which Christ reveals and deepens the mystery of his oneness with us, his Body. In the Catholic Church, a couple's sacramental union is exclusive (one man with one woman) and indissoluble (till death do us part). These are concrete ways in which the mysterious oneness between husband and wife, Christ and Church, becomes reality.
The requirements of St. Patrick's Catholic Church and the Diocese of Grand Island is that a priest is contacted at least four months before your anticipated marriage to begin the marriage preparation process. Please contact the parish office to begin this process. If you have a family member or personnel friend that is qualified (a bishop, priest or deacon - ordained in the Catholic Church) and you would like them to preside at your wedding, here at St. Patrick's, you can request permission for this by talking to the pastor. If you live a distance from North Platte, you may participate in marriage preparation at another parish, but we ask that you stay in contact with the priests at St. Patrick's about your intentions.