“Love is patient, love is kind…love endures all things”   Cor 1:13

The decision to marry is one of the most significant decisions in a person’s life. Within the Catholic Church, this decision is not only a personal high point but a parish celebration as well. Human love accepts an invitation to become a sign of God’s love for us. The couple promises to be signs of God’s love for each other and together to be signs to the Catholic community that God loves us faithfully, forever. Marriage, then, is a commitment by the couple to the Catholic community, and of the Catholic community to the couple to support, nurture, and enhance their efforts to live out their promise. 

The Diocese of St. Petersburg calls for a six-month preparation period to enable the couple, with the Church’s help, to prepare spiritually for their wedding and more importantly, for their married life together. At least one member of the bridal couple must be a registered parishioner of St. Paul parish. Required paperwork needs to be completed before a wedding date can be confirmed. 

Marriage Preparation

The following guidelines for marriage at St. Paul Parish flow from this belief in the Sacrament of Marriage. Because marriage at St. Paul’s is a religious event, and for baptized persons a sacrament, we celebrate marriage with those who share this faith vision, those who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and those who want to profess their faith in and through this Sacrament.

We ask that a Catholic who wishes to prepare for the sacrament of Marriage at St. Paul Parish to have been an active, registered member of our parish before marriage preparation begins, and plan on worshiping with us regularly before and after the ceremony. Children of St. Paul Parish parishioners may be married at St. Paul Catholic Church provided that they are active, registered members of this or another parish community.  They are expected to follow these guidelines for their marriages as well.

Interfaith marriages are certainly allowed.  They may be celebrated here or with authorization in the Church of the non-Catholic party.  A minister of another faith may also be invited to participate in a wedding celebrated at St. Paul’s.

We ask for six (6) months in order to help a couple prepare to receive the Sacrament of Marriage here.

Marriage preparation arrangements should be made with the parish before the wedding date is set, or reception is planned. Though a request for a wedding date and time may be made when marriage preparation begins, the actual confirmation of this date and time, and the scheduling for the wedding rehearsal take place with the priest after the preparation is completed.  

  • At least 6 monthly meetings with the marriage preparation coordinator (this may vary according to the needs of each particular couple).
  • Some reading 
  • A Diocesan retreat (Journey to Matrimony or Pre-Cana)
  • A meeting with the priest or deacon who will preside at the wedding once the marriage preparation is concluded.

All couples 21 or younger, and those who have been together for less than one year, will be asked to experience some additional premarital counseling.  Other couples will be encouraged to use these resources as well.


Maria Costa
(813) 961-3023

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 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.