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The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form an intimate community of life and love, was founded and endowed with its own laws by the Creator. By its nature, it is ordered for the good of the couple, as well as for the procreation and education of children. Among the baptised, it was elevated to the dignity of a sacrament, by Christ the Lord.

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ with the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the couple, strengthens their indissoluble unity and sanctifies them on the path to eternal life.

Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on the will to give to each other, mutually and definitively, with the aim of living an alliance of faithful and fruitful love.

Unity, indissolubility and openness to fertility are essential to marriage.

The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. This is why the family home is rightly called the “domestic Church”, a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and Christian charity.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1660-1666


When a man and woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony God as it were “is mirrored” in them; he impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love. Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us. Indeed, God is communion too: the three Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live eternally in perfect unity. And this is precisely the mystery of Matrimony: God makes of the two spouses one single life. The Bible uses a powerful expression and says “one flesh”, so intimate is the union between man and woman in marriage. And this is precisely the mystery of marriage: the love of God which is reflected in the couple that decides to live together. Therefore a man leaves his home, the home of his parents, and goes to live with his wife and unites himself so strongly to her that the two become — the Bible says — one flesh.

St Paul, in the Letter to the Ephesians, emphasizes that a great mystery is reflected in Christian spouses: the relationship established by Christ with the Church, a nuptial relationship (cf. Eph 5:21-33). The Church is the bride of Christ. This is their relationship. This means that Matrimony responds to a specific vocation and must be considered as a consecration (cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 48: Familiaris Consortio, n. 56). It is a consecration: the man and woman are consecrated in their love. The spouses, in fact, in virtue of the Sacrament, are invested with a true and proper mission, so that starting with the simple ordinary things of life they may make visible the love with which Christ loves His Church, by continuing to give his life for her in fidelity and service.

There is a truly marvellous design inherent in the Sacrament of Matrimony! And it unfolds in the simplicity and frailty of the human condition. We are well aware of how many difficulties two spouses experience…. The important thing it to keep alive their bond with God, who stands as the foundation of the marital bond. And the true bond is always the Lord. When the family prays, the bond is preserved. When the husband prays for his wife and the wife prays for her husband, that bond becomes strong; one praying for the other. It is true that there are so many difficulties in married life, so many, when there is insufficient work or money, when the children have problems. So much to contend with. And many times the husband and wife become a little fractious and argue between themselves. They argue, this is how it is, there is always arguing in marriage, sometimes the plates even fly. Yet we must not become saddened by this, this is the human condition. The secret is that love is stronger than the moment when there is arguing, and therefore I always advise spouses: do not let a day when you have argued end without making peace. Always! And to make peace it isn’t necessary to call the United Nations to come to the house and make peace. A little gesture is sufficient, a caress, and then let it be! Until tomorrow! And tomorrow begins again. And this is life, carrying on, carrying on with courage and the desire to live together. And this is truly great, it is beautiful!

Married life is such a beautiful thing and we must treasure it always, treasure the children. On other occasions in this Square I have mentioned something else which is so helpful for marriage. There are three words that always need to be said, three words that need to be said at home: may I, thank you, and sorry. The three magic words. May I: so as not to be intrusive in the life of the spouses. May I, but how does it seem to you? May I, please allow me. Thank you: to thank one’s spouse; thank you for what you did for me, thank you for this. That beauty of giving thanks! And since we all make mistakes, that other word which is a bit hard to say but which needs to be said: sorry. Please, thank you, and sorry. With these three words, with the prayer of the husband for the wife and vice versa, by always making peace before the day comes to an end, marriage will go forward. The three magic words, prayer and always making peace. May the Lord bless you, and pray for me.

Frequently Asked

Any couple can ask for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Provided that the bride and groom are of legal age, that at least one is baptised, that they have no impediment and that in conscience and freedom they request it from the Church.

As soon as possible – Choose and arrange the wedding venue with the respective parish.

6 months prior to the set date – Deal with the Canonical Process for Catholic marriage at the parish where the bride resides.

6 to 3 months before – Deal with the Civil Procedure for Catholic marriage at the Civil Registry Office.

During the engagement – ​​Find out which marriage classes you can attend to prepare for your Wedding celebration.

During the final month – Submit all the necessary documentation and arrange the details of the celebration at the parish where the celebration is to take place.

With adequate time – Prepare the celebration with the priest who will preside.

  • Certificate of No Impediment – Original (Civil Registry);
  • Certificate of “NADA OBSTA” issued by the Patriarchate of Lisbon (request made by the parish handling the process).

This certificate is valid for 1 year;

  • Indication of change of surnames of the bride and groom;
  • Provide name, marital status and full address of the 2 witnesses to the marriage. Provide a photocopy or photograph of the witnesses’ identification document (ID/Passport), to verify the data;
  • Full name of the Priest/Deacon who will preside over the celebration

Any questions or requests for information should preferably be submitted to the parish registry office, in order to obtain the most appropriate response.

Click hereto learn about the rules in force in the Patriarchate of Lisbon regarding the celebration of the Sacraments.

Preparation for the celebration of marriage

Order of service