“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
First of all, congratulations on your upcoming marriage!
As you are well aware, there are many considerations to take into account along the path to receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. We encourage you to contact Our Lady of Lourdes parish to speak to a priest before planning a date for your celebration, at least six months prior to your wedding.
Because of the sacramental dignity of marriage, the Church also offers multiple aids meant as a way to prepare the couple for entry into a partnership for the whole of life. For more resources on formation for the Sacrament of Matrimony, feel free to contact the Our Lady of Lourdes parish to schedule a meeting with a priest, or visit the Marriage Preparation page of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
To ensure the worthy celebration of marriage, the Cathedral parish asks all parishioners and non-parishioners seeking to be wed in our Church to please abide by our marriage policy. To obtain a copy of the Our Lady of Lourdes' marriage policy, please contact the parish office at 217-877-4404.
Yes, of course! Our Lady of Lourdes Parish is open to parishioners and non-parishioners alike. Because of the potential volume of weddings, however, we ask that non-parishioners provide their own minister (priest or deacon) to conduct the ceremony and provide marriage preparation for the couple.
The short answer is: yes! Because of the nature of the Sacrament, a Catholic is not free to seek marriage outside of the graces provided in the sacramental union of spouses. Thus, a Catholic is bound to be married in the Church for the sacramental validity of their marriage.
If for the good of the union, it is deemed necessary that the couple should be married in a religious ceremony of another denomination, proper dispensation must be sought by the local ordinary (bishop) through the priest or deacon arranging for the marriage preparation.
To maintain the worthy celebration of the Sacrament (which is not just a reality in the life of the couple seeking marriage but a celebration for the whole Church!), Catholic weddings are not permitted to be conducted outside of a church.
The Catholic Church has always taught that the family is a domestic church—a place of formation and prayer within the life of the family. The Church thus puts a strong emphasis on the obligation of parents to ensure their children’s growth in the life of faith and formation in the Catholic Church.
With this in mind, a Catholic is free to marry a person of another faith, provided that he/she and the non-Catholic party understand the nature of the obligation of marriage as well as their responsibilities toward their children.
For marriages where a Catholic and non-Catholic seek union in the Sacrament of Marriage, a special dispensation must be obtained from the local ordinary (bishop) of the diocese. To seek proper dispensation, the couple should speak with the priest preparing them for marriage.
For those who have been married outside of the Church, the Church provides certain avenues to make your union a sacramental reality. To discuss the possibility of “regularizing” your marriage or for further questions on the details of that process, please call the parish offices and ask to speak to a priest.
Divorce is an unfortunate reality in the world, but it is not, in the purview of the Church, a status per se, because of Jesus’ own insistence that ‘what God has brought together, no man may tear asunder.’
“Annulment” is actually an improper (although commonly misused) term, as it attributes a breaking of a sacramental bond that was, in fact, present. Per the commands of God, marriage is a permanent reality until death, and so such a rupture in the bond between a freely consenting man and woman is simply not possible.
However, because the Church recognizes various ways in which the faithful may have been improperly disposed to receive the Sacrament of Marriage or ways in which consent was improperly or conditionally given, a process exists to determine whether a marriage, from its beginning, was sacramental or not (and thus, “null” from its origins). The declaration of nullity is therefore given in those cases when it the sacramental reality is deemed to never have existed, for whatsoever reason. It is important to understand that, while the declaration of nullity states that a sacramental marriage did not occur (and thus the permanent union of man and woman in the eyes of God does not exist), it does not invalidate or render meaningless the time a couple may have spent together or the children who may resulted from that relationship.
To better understand the nature of a declaration of nullity or to discuss how one might be obtained, please contact the parish offices and ask to speak to a priest.
For a divorced person who has not sought remarriage, provided that they are otherwise properly disposed, he/she may present themselves for communion.
However, for those who have contracted another marriage without the proper consent of the Church (i.e. without seeking a declaration of nullity for the original marriage), they are required to abstain from presenting themselves for communion.
The Church longs for and desires that all might come to feast at the banquet of the Lord. If you have found yourself missing active participation in the Eucharist, please consider contacting a priest to understand what might be done to make this possible. With God’s grace, all things can be made new!