The Sacrament of Marriage
"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."
God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: "And God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'"
In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning: permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (CCC 1601, 1604, 1614).
St. Theodore Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lake Charles journey closely with couples preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony. We ask that you contact the pastor, 337-855-6662, at least six (6) months prior to the planned date of your marriage. The preparation process will include prayer and discernment, discussion, and preparation activities including:
1.Initial interview with priest or deacon
2.Gathering of necessary paperwork to document “freedom to marry” in the Church
3.The completion of an online questionnaire and discussion of the report it generates.
4.Six to eight meetings with a mentor couple, a sacramentally married couple who journeys with you toward the Sacrament.
5.Attendance at the Together for Life mini-retreat sponsored by the Diocese.
6.Other activities as deemed necessary to complete preparation for the Sacrament.
Please note that if you have had a prior marriage, either within the Church or outside the Church, and if that marriage ended in divorce, then please notify the priest or deacon at the first meeting so that he may help you to determine the next steps.
If needed, he can assist you with asking the Church to examine that prior marriage to determine whether a “declaration of nullity” is appropriate. If so, then you may be “free to marry” in the Church. A Declaration of Nullity is not “Catholic divorce” by any means. A Declaration of Nullity is a determination that although the wedding took place, the Church believes that God could not have “joined” the man and woman as one because of some circumstance that occurred at the time of the wedding. The priest or deacon can explain this in detail to you, so please do not hesitate to ask him for assistance.