MARRIAGE: the Sacrament of Unity!

Last updated: July 21, 2014

IF YOU ARE Viewing this page because you are interested in the Catholic Church's teaching on the Sacrament of Marriage, then "Welcome." But if you are here because you wish to be married at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Westville, then,

Please take some time and read through the following. I recommend starting with, "Meeting with Father."

New Document on Marriage from the U.S. Bishops: Nov. 2009

See it by clicking here


Pre-cana workshops schedules: Part I & II.
Advice articles on marriage.
Two marriages: yours & the Church's. Meeting with Father: what you need to know. Catholics & Protestant or Justice of the Peace weddings. Marriages on Sunday? Who is getting Married and When? Some Wedding Internet Sites! Prayer for a Catholic Spouse


Earlier this year, the Bishops of Kansas addressed one of the profound ills of our contemporary culture in a joint statement on cohabitation before marriage. One hardly knows where to begin when engaging the modern world on this issue, and the Bishops did a good job. You'll find it at Co-habitation? WWJD?

Another report on the problems of Cohabitation: try Marriage Preparation and Cohabiting Couples: an Information Report on New Realities and Pastoral Practices.

What you need to do for your marriage at St. Mary's Catholic Church.



on you impending marriage! Now that you are planning your marriage the first thing that you need to do is to contact your parish priest. Your pastor will then schedule a first of six meetings that need to take place prior to your marriage. Also required is to attend the Diocesan workshops called Pre-Cana. See the chart above for the Diocesan schedule. Father will explain these workshops to you during your first meeting at which time you can reserve the church for your date and time.

The following is an official statement for all Catholic Parishes issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in accord with the prescriptions of canon 1067 and with due regard for canon 1068, hereby decrees that the following norms shall be observed in preparation of a couple for marriage:
(1) The couple should receive appropriate education and pastoral preparation through participation in a marriage preparation program approved by the diocesan bishop;
(2) Parties should be questioned as to their freedom to marry;
(3) Baptized Catholics should present a recently issued annotated baptismal certificate;
(4) Where necessary, additional documentation (such as affidavits of parents) attesting to a Catholic party's freedom to marry should be presented;
(5) Baptized non-Catholics should present satisfactory proof of baptism and freedom to marry;
(6) Unbaptized persons should present satisfactory proof of freedom to marry;
(7) Preparation for marriage should be in conformity with the prescriptions of canon 1063 (regarding what must precede marriage) and canons 1064, 1071, 1072, 1086b and 1125, which entrust certain situations to the special care of local ordinaries;
(8) Preparation for marriage should be in compliance with appropriate civil laws.

Effective date: Dec. 1st, 2000...signed by Most Reverend Joseph Fiorenza, Bishop of Galveston-Houston, President, NCCB

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Two marriages: your's & the Bride of Chirst's--the Church.

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Let us pray to Jesus through Saint Raphael the Archangel in order to help all our friends who are called to marry a good Catholic spouse...
Dear Saint Raphael, you found a wife for Tobit, and you have been bringing together husbands and wives ever since. We ask you to help our friends who are open to marriage find the perfect spouse, the spouse who was designed from all eternity to form a sacramental union that will bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, and reflect the love of Christ for His bride, the Church. Prepare the husband to suffer for his wife as Christ suffered for our salvation. Help the wife remain pure and holy in anticipation of her husband. Do not delay, O powerful Archangel! O Jesus, the daily life of the Church is marriage and family, love and life, life and love, grace from above, so look not on our faults, but on the faith of your brothers and sisters. Amen.

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Pre-cana schedule for the Diocese of Peoria.


Couples MUST go the Diocese of Peoria website to see an overview of the Pre-Cana & Human Sexuality Programs by clinking See it by clicking here

For the A.D. 2010 Pre-Cana & Human Sexuality Schedule and on-line form for registration please CLICK HERE!

In addition to meetings with the priest, couples are required to meet the following requirements for marriage in the Diocese of Peoria: PRE-CANA Part One & Part Two.

PART ONE: a or b

a. Pre-Cana Conference ......... or .....b. Engaged Couple Encounter Weekend.
Sessions are Saturdays 8:30 A.M. to 4 P.M.
Weekend sessions begins Friday 7:30 P.M. to Sunday 4 P.M.

PART TWO: a or b

a. Christian Sexuality Workshop...... or ...........b. Natural Family Planning
Sessions are Saturdays 8:30 A.M. to 4 P.M. Bloomington: March 29th, June 14th & Sept. 20th; Champaign: Feb. 23rd, May 17th, & Oct. 18th; Galesburg: Feb. 9th, April 19th, & August 23rd; Princeton: Feb. 2nd, April 12th, October 4th; Peoria: March 1st, April 5th, May 3rd, June 28th, Aug. 16th, Sept. 27th, Oct. 25th; Quad-cities: March 8th, May 31st, & Oct. 11thSessions are Saturday 8:30 A.M. to 4 P.M.
To inquire about Natural Family Planning class dates, please call the Office of Family Life--Department of Natural Family Planning at (309) 671-1570.
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Promote Engaged Couple Encounter

Send your engaged couples to our Engaged Couple Encounter (ECE). The ECE, though similar in
content to the Pre-Cana Conference Day, offers a more complete catechetical, spiritual and
relationship building experience which includes: participation in the sacraments of Penance and the
Eucharist; more sufficient time to reflect upon and discuss the doctrinal and practical aspects of
Christian Marriage; and the witness of the team who exemplify Christian marriage by their very lives.
We have seen the fruits of this weekend in abundance for engaged couples and would like to see
more couples experience this grace filled opportunity.

Advice articles on marriage.


LONDON ( -- The rising trend toward cohabitation before marriage has a detrimental effect on women, according to a new study by the British charitable agency CARE. CARE found that couples who live together prior to marriage are twice as likely to divorce once they do marry. Also, unmarried women living with male partners are more likely than their married counterparts to suffer from anxiety and depression; 13.3 percent of the unmarried women have such problems, as opposed to 8.6 percent of the wives. The trend toward cohabitation is a strong one. In the mid 1960s about 5 percent of British women lived with their future husbands before marriage; by the 1990s that figure had risen to about 70 percent.


NEW YORK ( -- The proportion of American women who marry each year has been cut nearly in half in the past 36 years, while the number of couples living together outside of marriage has increased almost tenfold, according to a Rutgers University study. The National Marriage Project at Rutgers has released statistics showing that for every 1,000 American women above the age of 15, 49.7 were married in 1996, while in 1960 that figure was 87.5. At the same time, the number of unmarried couples living together soared from 439,000 to 4.2 million. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, one of the directors of the Marriage Project, explained the statistics to Reuters by saying: "The current generation has grown up in the midst of the divorce revolution, so they are extremely wary and cautious about entering into marriage."

Buying a wedding gift? We’ll help you research the best gift to buy, and where to shop for it online. Planning your gift registry? Our Wedding Gift Guide will help you make the best-informed selections. It features helpful buying advice on everything from kitchen appliances to sheets and towels to home entertainment gear.

News items from 'New York News', The Dispatch & the Rock Island Argus, "Wedding stress tip: Laugh!


The bridesmaids hate their dresses. Cousin Tilly wants to bring her tantrum-throwing 2 year old twins. And dear old Mom just has a few final thoughts on the buffet, the bouquet and the band.

"Oh, and about those seating arrangements, dear...."

Just as grooms know about nuptial jitters, brides can speak volumes on wedding stree--those pull-your-hair-out moments when plans seem to backfire and all you can really count on is something (perhaps everything) going wrong.

"As the days get nearer to the wedding, the stress grows and tempers flare," warned wedding comsultant Harriette Rose Katz of Gourmet Advisory Services, Inc., who sends brides off to a spa when they're really frazzled.

"They have to realize tht the stresses get even worse," Katz added. "Keep a sense of humor; that is the key." Now that big weddings are back in vogue--with 150 or more guests, multiple bridesmaids and groomsmen, and lavish budgets to match--modern brides have more to worry about than ever: Here's a list, and some solutions:

Budget and family stress. Wedding consultant Amy Connor of An Affair to Remember said money can spark family tensions, especially between mother and daughter.

"It's the worst when the mother didn't have the big wedding she wanted for some reason," Connor noted. "Often parents will give money and assume that gives them say over the wedding."

Her advice: Ask parents to contribute to just one item, like the photographer or the flowers. "If the parents feel it gives them say, at least it's only for one item," she said.

Guest list stress. Connor tells couples to decide on the guest list up front and specify whether or not to bring dates or children. "Even with these huge wedding parties, there's always someone who's going to be hurt that they weren't asked," she said. So remember; you can't please everyone.

Dress Stress. Katz reminds brides to take care of themselves--"You don't want to faint at your wedding! Get a friend or professional to help you dress and do your hair and makeup before the ceremony.

Seating Stress. "Sometimes brides and grooms want to do some matchmaking, which I always think is a bad idea at weddings," Connor said. Don't split up groups of friends when they'll have a better time together, she advised. Besides, today's complicated family dynamics--i.e., Mom can't sit with Dad's new wife--can get sticky enough.

Weather Stress. People surf the Web and consult Farmer's Almanacs months ahead to ensure good weather, but it's the one element you can't plan. "I think that's why they invented that saying: If it rains on your wedding day, it's good luck," Connor said. For outdoor weddings, she insists that couples have a bad-weather bakcup plan.

Last-minute Stress. "No big event ever runs perfectly," warned Connor. "It's very hard for some brides to relinquish that control on the day of the wedding, but sometimes it's the wonderful surprises that just happen, those magic little moments, that can make the wedding."

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Catholics marrying outside the Church

Since marriage is a holy union of a man and a woman instituted by Jesus Christ as a Sacrament, the Catholic Church requires her members to be married in a sacred place, unless permission has been granted by the diocesan Bishop of Peoria.
For Catholics celebrating a Sacrament, inside a Catholic Church is the most suitable place for something as sacred as Marriage. Unfortunately, many young Catholic Christians either do not know this or they choose to be married elsewhere, e.g. a Protestant church service or at the courthouse with a Justice of the Peace. As such, these marriages are not recognized as Sacramental by the Catholic Church and those baptized Catholics who have contracted such marriages are (technically) married outside of the Body of Christ, the Church. This means they may not receive the Sacraments (e.g. Eucharist, Confession except in danger of death) until their situation is corrected.
Lets say, after serious reflection on one's standing before God and his Church, someone wants to have their marriage recognized by the Catholic Church. What does one need to do to be married in the Catholic Church?
The first thing a couple should do is to visit their parish priest or a priest that is known to them. One could ask everyone else what they should do--but only a priest can help them "get back on track" sort of speak. A good priest will welcome the couple and try to put them at ease as he discerns the exact nature of the problem and what steps need to be done. For example, are there any previous marriages that need to be annuled? In short, is the couple free to marry? If not, why not--if so, how. If the couple is free to marry then they should then procede as if they were still engaged. They should start practicing their faith by going to Sunday Mass/worship but they are not to receive Holy Communion until their marriage is blessed.
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Who is getting Married & When?

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Check out this site The U.S. Catholic Bishops' Offical Wedding Website

Check out this site Catholic Wedding Mass: Readings/Vow choices

Check out this site The Wedding Channel
Check out this site The Knot
Check out this site The Honey Luna
Check out this site The Cyber Bride Book

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Can we get married on Sunday?

Due to the nature of "Sunday" as a Holy Day of Obligation and as a day of rest, the particular Diocesan Liturgical Law for the marriage rite is not permitted on Sundays, or Sunday vigils, without the Bishop's permission. This permission is not lightly given. Sunday, as a Holy Day, begins after 4 PM Saturday and continues until midnight Sunday. Other dates which are always prohibited: All Solemnities (including the parish's patronal day and its anniversary of dedication; All Soul's; On Ash Wednesday; during Holy Week & Easter Week.

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Parish Organizations and other information:

Parish Advisory Council

Baptism Information

CCD or Religious Education

Questions about Catholic Christianity

Marriage Information

Altar Servers

Mission Statement

Homilies & Talks

Past Pastors

Annual Stewardship Appeal

Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery

Parish Cookbook


Sick List

Youth Group/DTS

Parish History

Parish Directory

Hall Regulations

Sunday Bulletin

Mass & Confession Times

Altar & Rosary Society

Holy Name Society

Madonna Rosary


Communion Ministers

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How to reach St. Mary's Catholic Parish:

231 N. State St.
Westville, IL. 61883
Rectory phone number 217-267-3334

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