Guidelines for the Sacrament The Catholic parish of Willetton wants to offer you the best we can as you prepare for the beautiful vocation of Marriage. We want you to encounter the Lord in this Sacrament. We believe He will come to you in the faith of our parish community, in the love of a married couple, and in Father’s gift of priesthood. Many other people, especially your parents, will have prepared you for your big day. Our part is to put some finishing touches. Much of the life of any parish centres around the reception of the Sacraments. They are sure ways to encounter Christ. How individuals experience the various Sacraments depends to a large extent on how well they prepare to receive them. These guidelines are drawn up, in consultation with groups and parishioners, for the benefit of people wishing to celebrate the Sacraments in our parish. We hope they will enable parishioners to enter more fully into the Sacramental life of the parish, by clearly outlining our approach and the programmes we offer. We hope couples will see the programmes offered as an integral part of their Marriage preparations, which will help them as they begin their life together as partners in a Christian Marriage. We sincerely invite you to enter fully into this final time of preparation.
A Parish Welcomes Engaged Couples Love and Marriage are two of God’s most beautiful gifts to us. If your love is so strong that you have made a commitment to marriage, then we as a parish family welcome you both to celebrate your wedding with us in our parish church. We believe marriage to be a covenant based on your love and faith for each other – a commitment for life and blessed by God. Believing these things, it is important for you to prepare as well as possible for your big day, and to know clearly the details you need to arrange. The purpose of this letter is to help the preparation run smoothly and to make sure the main issues are discussed.
Some Practical Points Notice of Marriage Twelve months notice to the parish of an intended marriage would be ideal. A minimum of six months is required. See your priest-celebrant immediately. As soon as you have made a commitment to marry, you should approach the priest who is to help you celebrate your marriage. Priests outside the parish are always welcome to Sts. John and Paul. Who the celebrant will be needs to be known before a firm church booking can be made. Contact the parish Office (9332 5992) and have details of the marriage entered into the parish diary. Among the details to be entered would be if the marriage ceremony was to be celebrated within Mass or not. It is difficult to celebrate wedding on Sunday in our parish because of Mass and Baptism commitments.
Preparation for Marriage The Church requires preparation. Early notice of marriage enables couples to go through this preparation in a relaxed way before attention is absorbed by the details of the wedding day.
The Catholic Church sees marriage as a life long union between husband and wife. It stands to reason that where such a step is being considered proper preparation takes place beforehand. The preparation offered will touch on all aspects of married life. Couples contemplating marriage are asked to be part of:
- An Engaged Encounter Weekend or – Parish Couple Marriage Program or – Marriage Preparation (a day session) and – Four follow up sessions with the celebrant.
Each of these sessions complements the other and gives each couple a good foundation for married life.
Booklets Booklets setting out the marriage ceremony should be prepared by the couple. The celebrant will be ready to help with these. These booklets help all present at the wedding to take a more active part.
Place of Marriage The normal place for the celebration of marriage in the case of a Catholic couple is in the parish of either couple. In the case of a marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic the usual place would be the parish of the Catholic party.
Certificates required The couple will be expected to provide the celebrant with: – Birth Certificates (full Birth Extracts, if not born in Australia: Passport or Citizenship Certificate), – Change of Name (if applicable), – Baptismal Certificates (Issue should be within 6 months of the date of marriage).
Permission / Dispensation A marriage can take place in the Church between a Catholic person and a person baptised in another faith, or a Catholic person and a person never baptised. In these cases permission or a dispensation for the marriage to take place is given by the Bishop. The application for this permission or dispensation is made by the Catholic party. In making the application the Catholic party is required to: – Reaffirm their faith in Jesus Christ, – Express their intention to live that faith in Catholic Church, – To do all in their power to share their faith with their children by having them baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church.
It is taken for granted that a couple has discussed these matters in detail prior to making arrangements for marriage in the Church. Should there be aspects you wish to discuss further you are invited to do so with the celebrant or some other priest.
Conditions for use of the church Costs involved are generally by way of offering:
- An offering is made to the organist and musicians please ask them about this. The cost of materials to be used in your preparation programme will be kept to a minimum. – A separate offering should also be made to the celebrant. As a guide to you the present fee for a civil marriage is $300 and above. Music Music for your wedding is an important part of the church ceremony and needs to be arranged in consultation with the celebrant. Musicians and singers from outside the parish are welcome. If you need assistance from parish musicians and singers, approach them directly after one of our Sunday Masses or contact John Richards (9310 2079). The music and songs chosen should always be suitable to the occasion. Payments should be arranged between the couple and musicians and singers. Copyright licences may need to be applied also.
Flowers Flower arrangements are in your hands. You may ask a friend to arrange your flowers using church vases or a florist may bring them to the church already arranged. If the wedding is celebrated on a Saturday, then the flowers would be left in the church for the weekend. During Lent and Advent however, floral arrangements will need to be removed after the Wedding.
Liturgical/Seasonal Decorations Throughout the year the church is ‘dressed’ for the liturgical seasons. Any banners etc. hanging in the church will not, must not be removed for weddings.
Confetti Please advise your relatives and friends that confetti in or around the church is not permitted because of the mess and the difficulty of cleaning it from the paving.
Photographs/Video Photographs and Videos are permitted during the marriage ceremony. However, it is important for them to be taken discreetly and not to be a distraction. This applies especially to the use of bright lights. The church makes these requests of you out of care for you and your marriage and the quality of your relationship. We look forward to helping you in whatever way we can in your preparation for this important vocation of marriage.