Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage

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.