An important aspect about preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church is finding and selecting the priest who will preside over the celebration.
Couples usually find the church first and, therefore, the priest who is at that particular church will celebrate the wedding ceremony. This is perfectly fine. It is important for couples to have a relationship with the priest or deacon who will preside over their wedding ceremony, whenever possible.
Oftentimes, couples chose a priest they already know to preside over their celebration. They may have a favorite priest, a friend, or a family member.
Okay, so… Who is the Real Minister of the Sacrament of Marriage?
While finding the right priest to preside the celebration is very important, it is also important to know that the ministers of the sacrament of marriage are the bride and the groom.
Yes! The most important people in the sacrament of marriage are the ones who are entering into this covenant union we call marriage.
This is different from the other sacraments of the Catholic Church, where the minister is always a bishop, a priest or a deacon (an ordained minister). For the sacrament of marriage, the ministers are the contracting parties (bride and groom) because they are giving each other promises or vows and the consent.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church.” (CCC 1623)
That’s why during this part of the ceremony, the priest asks the couple to stand facing each other and exchange the promises or vows, symbolizing that they are giving each other the consent to enter into this union forever.
This shows us how important and how unique this sacrament is in the eyes of the Church. The bride and the groom actively give each other the promises in what is considered the most important part of a Catholic wedding ceremony.
It is very important for the couple to be aware of this moment, which represents the essence of the Catholic wedding ceremony. If you are getting married in the Catholic Church, it is also important to know that, as the ministers in this sacrament, it is very important that you are well formed and prepared for this sacred duty. That’s why marriage preparation is so important and that’s the reason why the Church encourages you to take marriage preparation seriously.
It is our hope that through this process of marriage preparation, you will grow in your understanding of the sacrament of marriage and the importance of the role you play in the ceremony as a minister of the sacrament.
We wish you all the best!