"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."
The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Order of Service with Mass ENTRANCE RITEProcession Opening Prayer LITURGY OF THE WORDFirst Reading / Old Testament Responsorial Psalm Second Reading / New Testament Gospel Acclamation Gospel Homily RITE OF MARRIAGEExchange of Vows Blessing of Rings Candle Ceremony (Optional) Prayer of the Couple (Optional) Prayer of the Faithful LITURGY OF THE EUCHARISTPresentation of the Gifts Prayer over the Gifts Our Father Nuptial Blessing Sign of Peace Communion Prayer After Communion CONCLUDING RITESigning of the Register Final Blessing Recessional
Order of Service without Mass ENTRANCE RITEProcession Opening Prayer LITURGY OF THE WORDFirst Reading / Old Testament Responsorial Psalm Second Reading / New Testament Gospel Acclamation Gospel Homily RITE OF MARRIAGEExchange of Vows Blessing of Rings Candle Ceremony (Optional) Prayer of the Couple (Optional) Prayer of the Faithful CONCLUDING RITESigning of the Register Final Blessing Recessional
Wedding Timeline1. At least six (6) months before the wedding, the wedding parties meet with the priest or deacon for the initial interview and the setting of the wedding date.
2. At least six (6) weeks before the wedding, the wedding parties attend a Marriage Preparation Course or Workshop. A certificate of attendance is part of the marriage documentation.
3. At least six (6) weeks before the wedding, the wedding parties meet with the priest for the canonical interview and complete the required documentation, including the following documents:
Certificate of Baptism for the Catholic party/parties, issued for marriage purposes after the initial interview.
A copy of baptismal certificate of baptism of the non-Catholic party.
Proof of freedom (Form 2A)
Concerning Baptism (Form 2B)
Certificate of Marriage Preparation Course
Musical program (approved by parish musician)
Wedding Service program (readings, prayers, vows & blessings)
Permission letter from parish priest (if from another parish)
Complete legal names of two (2) witnesses with their respective complete mailing addresses (with postal codes)
N.B. At least a month before the wedding, the Catholic parties celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation as an immediate preparation for the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage.
Protocol INITIAL INTERVIEWThe initial interview of the bride and groom with the priest, begins the process of documentation, including the setting of the date and time of the wedding celebration. This will include completion of the diocesan questionnaire by each of you. The questionnaire consists of the gathering of basic needed information about you and about your freedom to enter into a Roman Catholic marriage at this time. You will be asked to provide certificates of Baptism from the church at which you were baptized. The Baptism certificate must be dated within the past six months. The interview is preferred to be held during office hours. If one of the parties has been married before, this will require further consultation. Couples in this circumstance should contact the church at least a year before setting the date of the wedding. Weddings are scheduled on Saturdays at 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm. Weddings during Lent are not allowed. There are no weddings scheduled on Sundays and Mondays.
BAPTISMAL CERTIFICATE For Catholics, arecentbaptismal certificate is needed with pertinent notations and issued for marriage purposes. It should be dated after the initial interview to conform with the diocesan requirements to establish freedom to marry. You many contact the parish of your baptism for a recent copy. The non-Catholic party also needs to present a document to establish his/her religious affiliation.
MARRIAGE LICENSE Your marriage at St. Martha’s Parish is also a legal civil union. You must obtain a marriage license from any License and Registry Service. To obtain your marriage license you must present a Birth Certificate. The license which expires in ninety (90) days after date of issue, must be submitted with the other requirements at least thirty (30) days before the wedding, together with complete names and postal addresses of the two witnesses (usually the maid of honor & best man).
MARRIAGE PREPARATION COURSETHIS IS A REQUIREMENT FOR ALL COUPLES BEING MARRIED. Information on available courses can be obtained from the Parish Priest at the time of your meeting with him. Please note: It isyourresponsibility to arrange for a pre-marriage course. Our parish strongly recommends and administers a marriage inventory call Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study (FOCCUS).
MUSICONLY SACRED MUSIC IS PERMISSIBLE. Taped music is not allowed. Music is meant to accompany an action (entering or leaving the church), to proclaim the Word of God or to offer praise to God. Please contact our music director for consultation and guidance in regards to the choice of Music. All music details must be approved by our music director. Arrangements for a musician (pianist and/or choir) or soloist are to be made by the couple. Please be aware that there are copyright rules governing publication/printing of copyrighted music compositions. CHURCH ENVIRONMENT AND ETIQUETTESt. Martha’s Church is a sacred space to the members of the parish who worship here. You are not renting a building, you are using our parish space where the faith community come together as a family to pray and to worship. An atmosphere of reverence and respect must be maintained in the church at all times. Loud talking, smoking, eating, drinking and boisterous behavior are unacceptable in the church at any time. Your decision to be married in St. Martha’s Church means that you are on “holy ground” and are treating it as such.
THE WEDDING LITURGYAt a Catholic wedding, the bride and the groom are the ministers of the Sacrament. It is in their consent to freely give themselves to one another and in their vows to make of their love a life-long commitment that God is present to them in each other. The priest is present only as the Church’s official witness who presides at the ceremony and blesses the couple. In the tradition of the Catholic Church, the exchange of vows between two Catholics is to take place within the context of a Mass. This offers the opportunity to receive the body and blood of Christ. However, if one of the parties in not Catholic, the marriage rite outside of Mass is the prescribed norm. This offers the couple being married the opportunity to join the two families together at the wedding liturgy without fear of excluding members of the congregation who would not be invited to Communion. The wedding parties are expected to involve themselves in the planning of the ceremony by selecting the Scripture readings. Readers/Lectors or Proclaimers of the Word chosen for the celebration should possess the necessary gifts to proclaim the Word of God effectively and reverently. They must be present during the rehearsal. Servers or acolytes are provided by the parish if requested. The altar severs should be paid $20.00 each. St. Martha’s provides two altar servers for a marriage liturgy. If, however, family members or friends are invited to exercise this ministry, they are required to be present during the rehearsal.
PHOTOGRAPHSYour wish to have photos of your marriage is most understandable. Designate one photographer who will take pictures in the Church. The photographer is asked to consult with the priest half an hour prior to the ceremony or at the rehearsal since there are some limitations which the photographer is asked to follow. Video recording is acceptable but no additional lighting may be used in the church. “Great care should be taken to ensure liturgical celebrations, especially the Mass, are not disturbed or interrupted by the taking of photographs. ” The liturgy must be protected as sacred and not become a “Kodak moment. ” The lower the profile on photography is kept during the liturgy, the better. Professional photographers and those videotaping should be appropriately dressed and are asked to not move around during the liturgy. They are not to interfere with or move the furnishings of the church. Everyone involved must maintain respect for the space. Nothing is to be set on the altar. No flash or lights should be used during the service. Photographers/videographers are not allowed in the sanctuary during the service but should keep to the side aisles, behind the pew line. During the processional and recessional, photographs may be taken from the pews by anyone in the assembly.
WEDDING PARTYWitnesses must be 18 years or older. Junior attendants should be at least six years old. Having children in the wedding party, as flower girls or ring bearers, can be a negative experience for the little ones. This is often too much pressure on a child. If children are in the procession, they may be placed with an adult and may be seated during the ceremony. CONFETTI AND FLOWER PETALSConfetti and flower petals or other similar materials such as rice, salt, birdseeds, etc., are strictly prohibited both in the church and in the church yard. Flower girls cannot scatter petals as they come in or out of the church. Bubbles are not appropriate to be used inside the church. Please inform your decorators, florists and others involved about these restrictions. It is recommended that decorations be kept simple and tasteful. FLOWERS & DECORATIONSThese are the responsibility of the couple. Aisle runners, and extra candles like candelabras or pew candles are not allowed for safety reasons. Ornamentation such as arches or trellises is not permitted because of the integrity of the space and their hampering of mobility. In using pew bows, use elastic ribbon or string to attach them. Adhesive tapes are not allowed. St. Martha's has a set of pew bows/flowers that can be used for a nominal cost. Decorating the church should be done only thirty minutes before the wedding. Roman Catholic liturgical norms require that the church environment remain through the liturgical season. That is, altar appointments and floral arrangements may not be removed for a wedding. Seasonal arrangements such as Christmas poinsettias of Easter lilies and other parts of the environment must stay undisturbed.
Your florist is welcome in the church one-half hour before the wedding. Everything brought in is to be removed immediately following the rite. If you are leaving floral pieces for the church, you must notify the priest. SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION To prepare for marriage and this new beginning, Catholics are invited to celebrate God’s loving forgiveness by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation. PUNCTUALITYIt is expected that your Celebration start on time. The wedding party must arrive 15 minutes before and leave the parking lot no later than thirty minutes after the celebration. REHEARSAL Besides the wedding party and parents of bride and groom, it is most important that your readers be present in order to practice their reading and familiarize themselves with the readings, microphone and other procedures. It is not a time for musicians, including singers, to “rehearse” but we welcome them to attend the rehearsal. If they wish to rehearse please make arrangements with the parish office. Punctuality is to be observed. A GIFT FOR THE CHURCH Couples are invited to express their thanks to God and to the people of St. Martha’s Parish through a gift (usual gift is $200.00) This donation should be made on the day of the initial interview; to confirm the date and time of the wedding.