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To All Couples preparing for Marriage! Congratulations!

Because your Church celebrates this most important decision of your life and recognizing that sacramental marriage is a call to holiness and so you can begin your life with the tools that will help you live out a faithful, permanent and fruitful commitment. This serious and sacred commitment requires careful consideration and preparation. The Diocese of Tyler and St. Anthony has the following guidelines for sacramental marriage. Date of wedding should not be set until freedom to marry is acknowledged.

Congratulations on your Engagement!

“Now what do we do?”


  1. Call Your Parish (9-12 months before the wedding)
    Call as soon as you get engaged!  A member of the parish staff will schedule a meeting with you to discuss your wedding preparations as soon as possible.  

  2. Initial Meeting (9 months before wedding)
    At this meeting, you’ll learn about the formation process for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the necessary paperwork for your marriage, and set your tentative wedding date.

  3. Couple Inventory (7-8 months before wedding)
    The couple inventory provides you with a personalized profile of your relationship.  Your parish will set this up for you, and upon completion, they will help you schedule the follow-up session to review your results.  

  4. Witness to Love (7-8 months before wedding)
    You will be asked to choose your own marriage mentor couple who will accompany you during your formation and throughout your first few years of marriage using the Witness to Love model.  You will have several meetings with them in the time leading up to your wedding, and they will continue to be a support to you in the years to come!

  5. Three to Get Married Retreat (6-7 months before wedding)
    This retreat weekend will be an opportunity for you to grow closer to Jesus Christ and to one another.  Here you will build on the topics you have discussed with your Pastor and your Mentor Couple, with a special focus on the theology of Catholic marriage and other teachings of our Catholic faith.  Click the link below for a schedule of upcoming retreat weekends.    

  6. Natural Family Planning (5-6 months before the wedding)
    NFP respects the love-giving and life-giving purposes of marriage and enriches the bond between husband and wife.  This course gives couples a natural approach to understanding the cycles of fertility and infertility.  Course listings may be found on the St. Philip Institute website.

  7. Final Meeting (2 months before the wedding)
    This meeting will review your previous preparation, complete all your paperwork, and plan your wedding liturgy.  You’re getting close to celebrating this beautiful sacrament!

  8. Sacrament of Reconciliation (1 week before the wedding)
    Catholics preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Reconciliation and the Eucharist are invaluable sources of grace and healing.  Celebrate this sacrament with your spouse-to-be! 

Additional Questions?

Contact the St. Philip Institute: Office of Family Life
Phone: 903-630-5055 ext. 112      Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have any questions, contact the church office at 903-758-0116.

The sacrament of marriage is a visible sign of God’s love for the Church. When a man and a woman are married in the Church, they receive the grace needed for a lifelong bond of unity.

Marriage is a Covenant

The Sacrament of Marriage is a covenantal union in the image of the covenants between God and his people with Abraham and later with Moses at Mt. Sinai. This divine covenant can never be broken. In this way, marriage is a union that bonds spouses together during their entire lifetime.

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 thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life. (CCC 1661)

The love in a married relationship is exemplified in the total gift of one’s self to another. It’s this self-giving and self-sacrificing love that we see in our other model of marriage, the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love. (CCC 1662)

The Church takes the lifelong nature of the Sacrament of Marriage seriously. The Church teaches that a break in this covenant teaches goes against the natural law of God:

The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith. (CCC 1665)

Marriage Reflects the Holy Trinity

We believe that God exists in eternal communion. Together, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in one being with no beginning and no end. Human beings, likewise, were created by God in God’s image for the purpose of communion with another human being.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (CCC 2205). The Sacrament of Marriage is “unitive, indissoluble and calls us to be completely open to fertility.” Christian marriage at its finest is a reflection of God’s self-giving love expressed between the love of two people.



God created man and woman out of love and commanded them to imitate his love in their relations with each other. Man and woman were created for each other…Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in marriage both are united in an unbreakable bond. (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, Ch. 21, p. 279)