Throughout the history of the Catholic Church a sacrament has been defined as: “a visible sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.”
Within these words we hear three important and distinct statements:
- A visible sign : An action performed by a priest or deacon as in Baptism when the water is poured over the child’s or adult’s head.
- Instituted by Christ : Jesus instructed His followers through the church to offer the seven sacraments to His followers. The sacraments have been passed down through the centuries to all the followers of Jesus.
- To give grace : Grace is a free gift from God once we have given our lives to Him and receive Him in the sacraments our lives are filled with a special grace from God.
Matrimony (marriage) is the sacrament by which a baptized man and woman establish between themselves a lifelong partnership for their mutual good and for the procreation and education of children. The external sign of this sacrament is the promise that each spouse makes to the other. As long as both of them intend to contract a true marriage, the sacrament is performed. The effect of the sacrament is an increase in sanctifying grace for the couple, enabling each spouse to help the other advance in holiness. Sacramental marriage is more than a union of a man and a woman; it is symbolic of the divine union between Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride. As married Christians, open to the creation of new life and committed to our mutual salvation, we participate not only in God's creative act but also in the redemptive act of Christ.
In order to meet the needs of engaged couples in this hectic world, Marriage Preparation is available in various forms. These include Engaged Encounter, Hispanic Workshops, Second Marriage Workshops, Parish-based Programs, Preparing to Live in Love mentoring and others.
All who wish to be married at Notre Dame de la Mer Parish should make their initial contact ONE YEAR PRIOR to the date they would like to be married at one of our churches (Assumption Church, Wildwood Crest or St. Ann Church, Wildwood). We are aware that Canon Law requires a six month notice but because of our location the one year notice is needed. The prospective bride or groom should call the parish office at 609-522-2709, Ext. 210 and speak with the Parish Secretary. She will be able to tell you the availability of the date and location that you are requesting. If the location and date are available she will take some initial information from you to reserve the day. Additional information will also be provided.