The Cana Project

Bringing Christ into Marriages

Jesus is an essential party in an authentic marriage

The Diocese of Tyler wants to help couples that for whatever reason are living without the blessing of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Our marriage preparation program offers couples help on getting ready for one of the most important commitments they will ever make.  Our Tribunal is very effective at helping couples that have had prior marriages journey thru the process to establish their freedom to enter into an authentic marriage as God intends.

Need assistance in beginning the Tribunal process? Click here.  

For further information, please email or call (903) 939-1037

Preliminary Intake Form:  Intake Form (PDF)

If you were given previous instructions, please follow them.  If not, you can download the form, fill in out in Adobe, and then save and email to .  Alternatively you can print it out, fill it out by hand and then email or mail to:

Cana Project
1015 E. Southeast Loop 323
Tyler, Texas 75701

Questions and Answers About Marriage

Cana Project – Frequently Asked Questions – English (YouTube)

Proyecto Caná – Preguntas Frecuentes – Español (YouTube)

What did Jesus say about marriage?

Jesus was very clear that marriage is properly ‘until death do they part.’

Since the earliest days of Christianity, marriage has been recognized as both sacred and at times challenging.  Jesus affirmed the permanence and exclusivity of marriage “from the beginning” (hearkening back to the creation account in Genesis (1:27, 2:24).   People were shocked when Jesus said “he who divorces and marries another commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31,32; Matthew 19:1-9; Mark 10: 1-12; Luke 16:18). It was so surprising, that it is included 4 times in the Gospels. 

Does God always join a couple together at their wedding?

If the man and woman are free to marry and they freely choose to consent to the marital commitment, then God joins them together, provided there is no impediment.  But sometimes couples wed with the best of intentions and yet lack fundamentally the will or the capacity for authentic marriage.  Determining the reality of a particular wedding can be difficult.  This is why the Church trains experts in marriage to be able to judge carefully whether the consent was defective.  For example: Freedom might be lacking in a ‘shotgun wedding’ when the bride is pregnant and the groom is forced to marry, but on the other hand, the couple could choose marriage despite the external pressure.  (This is precisely what happened in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, the couples wanted to be married so the shotguns did not force their will.)  The Church Tribunal exists to help sort out the reality of the bond in cases of failed marriages.

What is marriage really?

Marriage is established ‘from the beginning’ (Genesis 2:24) as an exclusive union between a man and a woman who are truly free to marry, freely consenting to be faithful to each other in a lifelong union that is open to children.  This exchange of consent between the man and the woman creates the marriage bond.  God has established the marital bond to be “until death do we part.”  This reality is expressed commonly as: “What God has joined together, men must not divide.”

Isn’t being in love enough for marriage?

Sadly, love is not enough for marriage. Love can be a very powerful motivation.  But the feelings of love and of “being in love” often ebbs and flows.  Love can be a choice, as well as a feeling.  For authentic marriage, there has to be a commitment to love “in good times and in bad…as long as we both shall live.”

My marriage ended badly, but I don’t think I failed in my commitment.  Is that my fault?

Its not about establishing fault.  Many times couples on their wedding day have a deep hope for this to be “happily ever after”.  Sometimes one of the parties doesn’t wholeheartedly make the commitment.  Sometimes one of the parties couldn’t make the commitment freely for some reason.

Why does the Catholic Church make such a big deal about prior marriages?

One of the distinctive characteristics of Christian life was the sense of marriage as sacred and lifelong relationship.

Why can’t I just go to Confession?

The Church teaches: “Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’ The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. … Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.” (CCC 1650)

What if I don’t recognize marriage as a sacrament? 

Jesus affirms God’s original design for marriage.  He enriches marriage for Christians making it a sharing in his own life and love, a source of grace.  St. Paul says:  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31–32) Early Christians understood marriage for two Christians to be a sharing in the life of Jesus.  The Church calls the reality of this special participation in Christ a sacrament.

Is divorce prohibited by the Church?

No. The Church prohibits divorce and remarriage. Often divorce is the only type of legal separation possible.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.

“If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”  (CCC 2383)

What does the Catechism say about the sin of divorce and remarriage?

“… Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery.”  (CCC 2384)

What is an Annulment?

Short answer:  Every wedding results in both legal and emotional effects.  An “annulment,” properly called a Declaration of Nullity does not mean nothing happened on the wedding day.  The Tribunal of the Church seeks to determine if the couple actually established a bond that was joined together by God.

See the Diocesan Tribunal page for more information>>>

Longer answer:  An “Annulment”, properly called a Declaration of Nullity does not mean nothing happened on the wedding day.  Every wedding results in both legal and emotional effects.  The civil law effects involve property and paternity responsibilities.  The Church recognizes the right of society to regulate these effects and honors them.  As to the emotional effects, very few people enter into a marriage without an emotional investment.  A failed relationship often has a lot of emotions connected to it.  People sometimes find healing in working thru the process of taking a close look as to what really happened in the relationship.

The Declaration of Nullity looks to see if the couple actually established a bond that was joined together by God.  The Tribunal, or Church court, has experts trained in understanding marriage who can render a decision about whether a particular wedding resulted in a bond joined by God, or if there was some objective defect that prevented the bond being established.

The Judges in the Church Tribunal continue a service that has existed for hundreds of years.  Pope Francis has recently encouraged the Church in every country to have actively functioning Tribunals.  In the United States, the Church has invested a lot of resources so that almost every diocese has an actively functioning Tribunal available to help people.

Pope Francis has asked the Church to be like a field hospital, a place where those bruised and wounded can go and begin to find help and healing.

The Church wants to help you answer your questions and to draw closer to Jesus Christ.

Can I really get help being restored to a healthy, holy marriage that God joins together?

Yes! The Church would like to help you work through the process.  It won’t cost a lot of money.  It won’t make your children illegitimate.  It won’t end all heartaches.  It can help bring you closer to your spouse and closer to Jesus Christ.

Further Information

Cana Project
Phone: (903) 939-1037

Diocesan Tribunal

St. Philip Institute
Marriage Formation