Sacraments of Commitment

"Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1534

Sacrament of Matrimony

"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1601

In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholics normally takes place during Mass because of the connection of all the sacraments with the death and resurrection of Christ.

The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely expresses their consent. The Church holds "the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that ‘makes the marriage’" (Catechism, 1626). If there is no true consent, there is no marriage.

A couple wishing to marry should contact their parish priest one year prior to the anticipated date of the wedding. Couples are required to engage in a marriage preparation process provided or arranged by the parish. Such preparation allows the couple to come to a deeper knowledge of each other and of the sacrament they will receive, including the reasons for its indissolubility.

Holy Orders

"Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time; thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests) and diaconate (deacons)."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1536

The essential rite of this sacrament for all three degrees consists in the bishop’s imposition of hands on the head of the ordained and his specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained.

It is desirable that the ceremony take place within the Eucharistic liturgy and that as many of the faithful as possible take part.


The Purpose of Sacramentals

We use “sacramentals” to mark specific moments in life, to remind us of the sacramental nature of all life.

The Elements of a Sacramental

1. There is always a prayer (see CCC #1672).
2. There is often a specific sign such as:

  • laying on of hands
  • sign of the cross
  • sprinkling of holy water



Frankincense is the main ingredient in the incense used in today's liturgies. It is resin produced by a family of desert trees that grow in southern Arabia, and is derived from sap that dries, forming crystalline lumps of an amber/gold color.

For Christians, it has a rich prayer and purification symbolism. From earliest Christian days, it has been associated with Christ, beginning with the magi gift (Matthew 2:10-11). Even before that, the Jews regarded its rich spicy scent as a pure offering, pleasing to God.

Why do we use incense?

We venerate an object or a person, or show honour by incensing.

We incense the altar, the book of the Gospels, the gifts of bread and wine, the assembly, and the body of the deceased during a funeral. Five grains of it can be deposited in the Paschal candle at the Easter Vigil, representing Christi's five wounds. The old blessing of incense included the prayer, "Be blessed by him in whose honour you will burn."

What is the symbolism of using incense?

1. Its burning represents zeal and fervour.
2. Its fragrance represents virtue.
3. Its rising smoke represents acceptable prayer, as noted in Psalm 141:2.


A crucifix is a cross bearing the figure of the crucified Christ. This figure is called a corpus.


Medals are used to commemorate, memorialize, and inspire us. Typically, medals depict Our Lord, the Blessed Mother, or other saints.

Chancery & Marriage Tribunal

Chancery & Marriage Tribunal

Pastoral Centre 

200 Military Road

St. John’s, NL A1C 2E8

Tel: (709) 726-3660

Fax: (709) 726-8021