Faith Formation - Sacraments » Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony

Marriage is a “covenant or partnership of life between a man and woman, which is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children. When validly contracted between two baptized people, marriage is a sacrament” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1601).

Unlike the other sacraments which are all administered by a bishop, priest, or deacon, the Sacrament of Matrimony is administered by the husband and wife to each other; the priest or deacon is the Church’s witness who blesses the union created by the exchange of consent. The marriage bond, created only by those who are truly free by God’s law to marry, is an irrevocable covenant which binds the spouses to each other for life, and the Sacrament of Matrimony conveys the special grace necessary to strengthen them for lifelong fidelity and growth in holiness.

Christ dwells with the spouses and gives them the grace to take up their crosses daily, to rise again after they fall, to forgive one another, to bear each other’s burdens, to be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ, and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love.

Holy Matrimony at St. Clement

Engaged couples must call one of the priests at (314) 965-0709 at least six months in advance to schedule a wedding.
The Marriage Preparation Program is a rewarding ministry which assists engaged couples as they prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage. Sponsor couples facilitate this process by following a structured course designed to introduce the engaged couple to a deeper understanding of God's plan for their marriage. The program invites couples to explore their own uniqueness by seeking their identity and mission in Christ. The course also includes virtue-based instruction on communication, conflict resolution and financial decision-making. As they learn more about the Sacrament and their relationship, they share their thoughts, hopes, dreams on their marriage convenant and vocation. Many sponsor couples make a real connection with the engage couple during these sessions and are blessed with wonderful lasting friendships.
Our Patron Saint is St. Valentine, the Patron Saint of affianced couples, engaged couples, happy marriages, love, lovers, young people, among others things. St. Valentine was a Priest, martyred in 269 at Rome and was buried on the Flaminian Way.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

What subjects are discussed?
Sacrament of Matrimony, Family of Origin, Romance, Disillusionment and Joy, Sex and Sexuality, Communication with God and Each Other, Stewardship and Your Finances, Planning and Parenting of Children, I Promise to Love You and Honor You All the Days of My Life.
Who can be a sponsor/facilitator couple?
If you are a couple who is living a truly Christian marriage, whose relationship is obviously life-giving to their family and community and would enjoy sharing their relationship with engaged couples, you can be a sponsor couple.

What is a facilitator? 
A facilitator is one who helps individuals to learn and to share ideas and experiences with others.  Facilitators also share of themselves as part of the learning process. 

Will I be teaching the program?
No.  You are guiding the program.  You are facilitators.  Your role is not to instruct, but to be present and welcoming to the engaged couple as they learn more about their relationship through the marriage preparation program.

What does a sponsor/facilitator couple do?
The sponsor couple meets one-on-one with the engaged couple in your home several times before the wedding to help them prepare for Christian marriage.  A facilitator’s guide, DVD, and engaged couples workbooks are supplied by the coordinator.

Do I need training?
No training is necessary, but the Archdiocese’s Office of Laity and Family Life does offer a training session once or twice a year for sponsor couples.  The program is easy to follow without training.  The Facilitators Guide has instructions and a timeline for each of the eight chapters in the program.

What program is used?
Saint Clement uses Ascension Press’ “Joy-Filled Marriage” program which is the approved program in the diocese and the same program that they use in the group weekend sessions.
This is the program published by the Office of Marriage & Family Life of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

How much time is involved?
The program is broken up into four sessions.  Two chapters are normally covered each session.  Each session usually lasts 2 to 2 l/2 hours.  Advance preparation is required for meaningful meetings.  Sponsor and engaged couples work out a schedule for meetings. 

How am I assigned an engaged couple?
The Marriage Prep Coordinator will call you to check your availability to work with the engaged couple before the wedding.

How often do we sponsor an engaged couple?
Using a sponsor couple rotation system, you normally meet with one engaged couple a year. 

Do we have to talk about our marriage?
Sharing is a big part of the program.  You will have an opportunity to share a personal experience story for each subject.  The couples on the DVD’s share their marriage difficulties and joys.  If you have a personal story to share about that evening’s subject, it is always helpful.  You may not have a personal story each time. 
Who do we call if we’re interested in being a sponsor couple?
Call St. Clement’s Marriage Preparation Coordinators--Bert and Lisa Schaefer.