"Christian couples, therefore, nourish and develop their marriage
by undivided affection, which wells up from the fountain of divine love…
[as] they remain faithful in body and in mind, in good times as in bad."
The Sacrament of Matrimony
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. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1601
This sacrament, received when a husband and wife pronounce their marriage vows, gives the grace for two people to join their lives together until death. The husband and wife perform this sacrament for each other. The priest is only the official church witness of this sacrament.
Is a Wedding in Your Future?
In recent years, the Catholic Church has increasingly recognized the importance of a thorough religious preparation for engaged couples before they enter into Christian marriage. Couples desiring to be married at St. Joseph Parish are to contact the priest at least 6 months before the intended wedding date. The pastor meets with prospective brides and grooms and by using interviews, questionnaires and retreats, the parish priest helps them understand the importance of the step they are taking as they enter into this lifelong covenant. The bride and/or groom must be a registered, active and participating member of the parish. This means that the Catholic party(ies) are presently registered in the parish; attend weekend Mass regularly; and supports and participates in the life of the parish through the sharing of their time, talent and treasure. Those who belong to a different parish but are requesting marriage here, must furnish a letter of permission and verification of parish membership from their pastor. In addition, the couple must participate in a parish sponsored marriage preparation program.
There is expert, one-to-one assistance available to engaged couples as they contemplate their church wedding. Our coordinators, Chuck Casalicchio and Annette Carlisle, help them at the rehearsal, ceremony, and with other details as needed (in addition to meetings with the pastor). The fee for their assistance is $100.00.
One of the first things to do when planning your wedding is to contact the Parish Office. Click on links in this page's documents section to view St. Joseph's Wedding Policy or Wedding Planning Music Guidelines.
Validation of Marriage
Catholic Church law ordinarily requires baptized Roman Catholics to marry before a priest or deacon. Unless they requested and received a “dispensation from canonical form,” Catholics who exchange marriage vows in the presence of only ministers from other religious traditions or authorized civic officials are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Later, those couples may seek to have their union officially recognized by the Church. In technical Church terms, this is known as convalidation of a marriage. Regardless of why couples marry outside the Church and later seek a Church wedding, the benefits of convalidation are enormous: peace of heart, oneness with the Church, reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony and God’s special blessing upon the marriage. Couples who are married civilly but not in the Church are invited to inquire about the recognition and blessing of their marriage before the Catholic Church. Please contact the pastor at the Parish Office about beginning the marriage validation process.
Would You Like to Enrich Your Marriage?
Rediscover each other and together focus on your relationship at a Marriage Encounter Weekend. The emphasis of Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a marriage enrichment program, is on communication between husband and wife, who spend a weekend together away from the distractions and the tensions of everyday life, to concentrate on each other. It's not a retreat, nor a marriage clinic, nor group sensitivity. It's a unique approach aimed at revitalizing Christian Marriage. This is a time for you and your spouse to be alone together. To rediscover each other and together focus on your relationship for an entire weekend. Every marriage deserves that kind of attention! For more information, visit the Worldwide Marriage Encounter web site.
Wedding Anniversary Celebrations
The Office of Pro-Life, Marriage and Family Life of the Diocese of Youngstown annually sponsors a Wedding Anniversary Celebration honoring couples observing their 25th, 40th, 50th and over wedding anniversaries during the calendar year. Held at two locations each year, the Wedding Anniversary Celebration includes Mass with Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., renewal of marriage vows and a personalized certificate for each couple. Following the Mass, a reception is held for the couples and their families. Couples register for this event by contacting their Parish Office (330-274-2253) before the designated date. Please watch for bulletin announcements for complete details.
Retrouvaille (pronounced retro-vi, meaning Help Our Marriage)
A program for couples experiencing poor communication, conflict, hurt, anger, lack of intimacy and boredom in marriage. Someone once said "marriages may be made in heaven, but they sure take a lot of work on earth." Retrouvaille can help you and your spouse put your marriage back on track. If you think your marriage is hurting, please visit www.retrouvaille.org or call 330-979-7787 for confidential information.
Process of Annulment
Experiencing the end of a marriage for any reason other than death is a pain that no one was ever meant to experience, yet in our broken world it often happens that two people realize that the vows they spoke can’t truly be fulfilled. When a married couple seeks and receives a divorce, the civil authorities declare that the marriage has ended. The Church, though, in the process of an annulment seeks to declare not that the marriage ended, but that the vows were not truly and completely given in the first place.
People seek annulments for many reasons. Some are looking to clarify their identity in the Church and to know a closer in their spiritual life after all that has happened. Others wish to marry again and rightly desire to do so in the context of their faith. Whatever the reason for beginning the process of an annulment, the hope of the Church is that it brings a healing to the life of the one seeking it, a time to examine and understand the past so that one can look to the future. If you have experienced divorce, we encourage and invite you to call the Parish Office (330-274-2253) and arrange a meeting with the pastor to talk over your situation.
A “Welcome Opportunity” for Divorced Catholics
Reforms in the Annulment Process were announced by Pope Francis and made effective December 8, 2015, the first day of the Holy Year of Mercy. The coincidence of the two events gives a great hope to Catholics who feel separated from their faith by the circumstances of their marriage. The application and explication of the reforms is still being worked out (the easiest to grasp is “the process should be free.”). But, the tone of the Pope’s message is clear –encouraging to Catholics.
Regarding the changes, Bishop Murry said: This reform…offers those whose marriages have failed an opportunity to be reunited with the Church. I hope and pray that presently divorced and remarried Catholics will welcome this opportunity to apply for an annulment.
In announcing the changes, Pope Francis said: …the concern for the salvation of souls…remains the supreme objective of the institutions and laws, and drives the Bishop of Rome to offer the Bishops this reform document…to protect the unity in faith and in the discipline regarding marriage, the cornerstone and origin of the Christian family…charity and mercy require the Church to be closer to her children who consider themselves separated. St. Joseph’s, invites anyone moved by this message to contact Sr. Joyce (330-274-2253) who will facilitate the process in our parish.