The Sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved His Church. The grace of the Sacrament perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacrament. Therefore, we would hope that those who wish to receive this sacrament at St. Paul’s would be registered, active members of this parish community for at least 1 year.
Preparation for Marriage
As a life-long commitment and a sacred sacrament in our Church, marriage requires a serious level of preparation. The Archdiocese of Baltimore mandates all couples to participate in a formal program of preparation arranged through their local parish. In addition to the assistance provided by the officiating clergy, St. Paul’s primarily offers three programs of marriage preparation:
Pre--Cana Preparation is offered in large group gatherings of approximately 15-20 couples, generally for two sessions on consecutive Sundays, offered twice each year. The option is arranged through your priest or deacon.
Sponsor Couple work is a process of five sessions with a selected married couple from St. Paul’s parish, who will meet with the engaged couple personally. The option is arranged through the parish office.
Engaged Encounter Retreats offer personal attention and guidance for approximately 20 couples, scheduled from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon on various weekends at retreat houses throughout the Archdiocese. This option is arranged by calling 401-439-4217.
Baptismal Certificate - Each Catholic party must obtain a newly issued baptismal certificate (issued within six months of the wedding date) from the church of baptism. You may obtain a certificate by contacting the church directly. A baptized non-Catholic is asked to provide a photocopy of his or her baptismal certificate.
Marriage License - All couples must obtain a marriage license from the Howard County License Bureau, located at the Court House in Ellicott City, Maryland — 410-313-2111. There is a 48-hour waiting period for the license. It is valid for use within six months. No blood tests are required in the State of Maryland.
Other Documents - The priest or deacon will assist you in determining whether additional documents are necessary for your marriage.
Planning Your Wedding
Please contact the parish office for guidelines and assistance with planning the many details of your wedding at 410-465-1670. They will help you plan a beautiful and memorable event.