Marriage & Family Life Commission

Marriage is an intimate community of life and love, established by the Creator and endowed by Him with its own proper laws. God, Himself, is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the Hand of the Creator. Marriage is not purely a human institution. The marriage covenant is a relationship between husband and wife, a permanent union of persons, capable of knowing and loving each other and God.

The Catholic Church, in its canon law and theology, describes marriage as a lifetime, exclusive partnership between one man and one woman, who give and receive mutual help and love and, from their union, bring forth and rear children. Marriages always are presumed valid until proven otherwise. If a marriage involves two baptized Christians, it is presumed not only valid but also sacramental. If one or both parties is unbaptized, the marriage still is presumed to be valid and a good and natural bond. The 1983 Code of Canon Law says about marriage:

Canon 1055, 1°

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.

Canon 1056

The essential properties [of marriage] are unity and indissolubility; in Christian marriage they acquire
     a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament.

Canon 1057, 1°

The essential properties [of marriage] are unity and indissolubility; in Christian marriage they acquire
     a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament.


Congratulations on your engagement and welcome to marriage preparation in the Diocese of St. John's-Basseterre!  This programme is an extensive and comprehensive preparation to Catholic marriage. It involves several interactive sessions with your priest, deacon or lay persons who are all committed to ensuring that you are adequately prepared to enter into your marriage experience. 

  • We know you are both excited to get to your wedding day. However, we advise that you contact your parish at least six months or more prior to your desired wedding or validation date in order to determine freedom to marry, begin a marriage preparation process and complete necessary pre-nuptial paperwork. 
  • Couple is also required to participate in and complete any education, skill-building process or workshop required by the parish. 
  • Civilly married couple is required to participate in and complete a diocesan approved validation preparation process.
  • Parishes are expected to minister to a couple who resides in parish boundaries. 

The Family Life ministry serves as a resource to parishes, deaneries, and other institutions within the Diocese on the pastoral care of the family. Our goal is to assist the parish leaders in the development of comprehensive programs for families adapted to the needs of each individual parish community.

The Diocese of Dallas Family Life Department exists to encourage and empower parishes to minister to the diversity of families that are present today in our communities by offering education, resources, and support to families in all aspects of their life.

We can also provide information and referral on family services such as counseling in different areas and situations that affect our families today. Some of our key activities include but are not limitted to: 

  • Marriage Enrichment Programs
  • Parenting Programs
  • Ministries for Women and Men
  • Ministry for Single Adults
  • Older Adult Ministry (Seniors)