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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)

Is there a marriage policy book?

Yes all answers concerning Weddings at the Cathedral can be found in our Marriage Policy Booklett learn more

Who can be married at Saint Joseph Cathedral?

Those who are registered, practicing members of Saint Joseph Cathedral may be married here. It is our Catholic tradition to celebrate the sacraments in one’s own parish community. There are exceptions, however. Couples who belong to another parish in the Diocese of Manchester may be married here by the pastor or deacon of their home parish.

Who is able to officiate at marriages at Saint Joseph Cathedral?

The priests and permanent deacons assigned to the parish, normally officiate at Cathedral weddings. Permission can be given for another priest or deacon who is a friend of the couple to do so as well. Since you are already a member of the diocesan community, it is recommended that the pastor or deacon from your home parish in the diocese should officiate at the ceremony.

Are people who are not members of the Catholic faith welcome to be married at Saint Joseph Cathedral?

Simply put, yes—providing either the bride or the groom is Catholic.

Can people who have been married before be married in the Catholic Church at Saint Joseph Cathedral?

Generally speaking, the answer is no. The Church views marriage as a permanent commitment and the bond of marriage is broken only by the death of one spouse. With that being said, there are exceptions which would need to be addressed with either one of the priests or the permanent deacon.

What does marriage preparation look like?

Catholic marriages are viewed as a life-long commitment. As such, preparation is required of all couples prior to the celebration of the sacrament. Cathedral parishioners begin this process by completing an extensive pre-marital questionnaire. This is followed by taking a communication skills inventory and an evaluation of it, and a day long or weekend long retreat. Prior to the completion of these requirements, the date is only tentatively set in the Cathedral parish calendar. Non Cathedral parishioners will make the same preparation in their own parishes with their own priest, deacon or marriage preparation team. When the Cathedral requirements have been completed in the other parish, a letter verifying that the couple have completed the preparation process.

What is the fee for parishioners?

For weddings in the Cathedral or chapel, the fee is $700. No parishioner of Saint Joseph Cathedral is ever turned away because of an inability to pay the fee.

Is the Cathedral Chapel available for weddings?

The Cathedral Chapel is a beautiful setting for smaller weddings (less than 125 guests). If you are planning a smaller wedding, you may want to consider the Chapel as an option.

Do Catholic weddings always take place at Mass?

No. There are two options—the rite of marriage may take place at a Mass or in a simple ceremony. In either case, there is a Liturgy of the Word and the Rite of Marriage. Normally, the Mass is celebrated only when both parties are Catholic.

Are there restrictions concerning the ceremony or the music?

The wedding rite, whether celebrated at a ceremony or Mass, follows the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church. The couple participates in the choice of readings and, in consultation with the Cathedral Director of Music, the couple may choose appropriate sacred music for the celebration. There are other options available which will be discussed with the couple in the final preparatory stages before the wedding. The standards for music at weddings are very clear and set.

What is the process that a Cathedral parishioner follows to be married at Saint Joseph Cathedral?

If you are a regular, contributing parishioner at Saint Joseph Cathedral, you may begin scheduling the wedding no more than 24 months and no less than 9 months in advance. We will tentatively set the date and time of the wedding with you during that time. Once all of the requirements have been completed (see question about marriage preparation above), we will confirm the date with you. Since this initial preparatory process can take up to 2 months, most couples will have a confirmed date for the wedding approximately one year in advance.

Does the Cathedral have policies regarding the content of the wedding service, the music to be used, etc?

Yes the content of the service is set forth in the Church's official Ritual Book for weddings. However he couple being married will work with staff members to plan the wedding service by choosing the Scripture readings, the music, etc. See the Cathedral Marriage Policy Booklet.

How does someone who is NOT a Cathedral parishioner arrange to get a wedding on the Cathedral Calendar?

It is necessary, first of all, for you t have a priest or deacon who is willing to preside at your wedding. Normally, of course, this would be a priest or deacon from your own parish. It could also be a relative or close friend. Once you have identified the priest or deacon officiant, the Cathedral secretary will work with you to find an agreeable date for your wedding. This date will remain tentative until the priest or deacon has requested and received permission for the marriage from the Cathedral pastor. The priest or deacon obtains permission by filling out the "delegation form" provided by the Cathedral secretary. Someone who is not a Cathedral parishioner may begin tis scheduling process by calling the Cathedral secretary as early as 12 months before the desired wedding date. Check Cathedral policy book for more details.

Is there a fee involved for a Cathedral wedding?

Yes. The fee assigned to your wedding helps defray the cost of the services of the sacristan, the custodians, the business office, the musicians, as well as the cost of utilities, such as heat and electricity. There are two fee schedules at Saint Joseph Cathedral, one for parishioners ad another for non-parishioner.

What are the fees for non-parishioners?

For weddings at the Cathedral or Chapel, the fee is $900.

When may weddings take place at the Cathedral?

Saturday is the usual day for weddings to be celebrated. They are never celebrated on Sundays. Also the Church discourages the celebration of marriages during Lent.


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