I had the chance to attend a Catholic wedding at St. Mary’s Catholic church. I jumped on it! It was something I had never experienced before. Although it was not the same as a traditional Baptist wedding I am used to, I did not witness anything that freaked me out as did some other churches in this town.
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When I arrived at the church, I quickly found a seat midway back. The sanctuary was nothing like what I was used to. It was dark and everyone was extremely quiet. It looked just like what I saw on the Sister Act movies. However, there were no nuns running around. If it was not for the obvious wedding decorations, I would have thought I was at a funeral.
When the wedding started, a woman began playing the organ. The bride walked down the aisle to the usual “Here Comes the Bride” music. They participated in pretty much the same wedding traditions as my Baptist faith. However, they threw in quite a few more rituals that made them service last forever. At least it felt like forever. I was not quite sure what they were doing, not could I see very good. Because of this, I decided to research Catholic wedding ceremonies.
The Catholic Church identifies marriage as a sacrament, a sacred encounter between God and his People. The sacrament of marriage views the love between husband and wife as a gift from God. In turn, the love of husband and wife becomes a living sign of Christ’s existence and love in the Christian Community. A couple united in the sacrament of marriage lives that sacrament by loving God and practicing their faith. They live the sacrament by the love they have for each other and the unselfish ways they permit that love to mature. They live the sacrament by being open to the gift of children. This is their reason for no birth control.
There are certain requirements that must be met before a man and woman may be united in marriage, according to the Catholic faith. Catholics impending the sacrament of marriage must believe in Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. They are expected to live out their faith through regular attendance at Sunday Eucharist. They are also expected to like a Christian life. If both man and woman are practicing Catholics, they are expected to both be registered members of his or her parish. If one of the partners of the marriage is not Catholic, they must agree to allow the Catholic partner to continue in the practice of his or her Catholic faith. A Catholic approaching the sacrament of marriage should have an excellent understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A non-Catholic partner in marriage is expected to study and learn the fundamental teachings of the Church. Catholics approaching the marriage should understand the meaning of marriage as a sacrament. They must be ready to allow for the vocation of marriage and be open to accepting God’s gift of children. They should also recognize that the Church asks that all children be baptized and raised in Christian faith. Each partner must also be at least 18 years of age.
Pre-marital counseling is required and must take place before the priest will perform the marriage. Each person is required to show, in writing, proof of baptism. The marriage license is to be presented to the priest during the rehearsal. The priest plays a major role in the planning of the wedding. Most priests also request that the Mass should be included as part of the marriage ceremony. This is one reason why the length of a Catholic marriage is extremely long.
I really enjoyed attending a Catholic wedding. After researching the practice of marriage in the Catholic church, I have come to the conclusion that it is good to have the priest actively involved in preparing each man and woman for marriage.
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