THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

It is our hope and prayer that your marriage will bring you happiness and blessings throughout your lives. Wedding arrangements are certainly necessary and important but we hope that you will not lose sight that Marriage is a Sacrament – a sacred sign of your love for each other in Christ. May Christ abundantly bless your love and enrich and strengthen you to undertake the duties of marriage in mutual and lasting fidelity. The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives the 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.

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.

They make this pledge before the Priest and other witnesses. The Church considers this bond to be sacred, unbreakable, and binding until the death of one of the spouses.

Marriage, like priesthood, religious, or single life, is a vocation – a calling from God. The Sacrament of marriage gives the husband and wife the grace to live a life focused on serving God through their love for one another and to raise their children in the Catholic faith.

Initial Contact

Couples planning to marry at St. Pius X Parish are asked to contact the parish priest at least six months prior to the date desired (one year prior would not be too early). This process includes meeting with the priest, a premarital program and the preparation of documents for a wedding file. At least one of the intended spouses must be Roman Catholic. All must be in compliance with Canon Law concerning marriage, and no date can be set until the initial investigation is complete.

Please do not book halls or restaurants before first appointment.

Marriage Preparation Classes

It is often said that a wedding lasts a day and a marriage lasts a lifetime. With that in mind, Diocesan regulations require that bride and groom both complete the Marriage Instruction course or an Engaged Encounter weekend which is mandatory for all engaged couples. The purpose of this program is to assist all couples in preparing for marriage so they may enjoy a more fruitful and joyous relationship as husband and wife.

Paperwork

Usually when a Marriage Preparation Course is completed, the bride and groom make an appointment with the priest to fill out the necessary forms, bringing with them their parents (one parent from each party) OR an adult sibling. In case a parent or a sibling of one party cannot come, the presence of two friends (knowing this party longer than 2 years) is required to sign the witness forms.

Cheques and License

While there is no set fee for weddings it is suggested that the couple provide 5% to 10% of the total they plan to spend on the wedding as a minimum offering to the parish. A wedding will take about five to ten hours of the priest’s and staff’s time as well as other cost to the parish. There should be a reasonable proportion between other wedding expenses and your offering to the Church. An offering is usually given to the officiating priest in appreciation for the services given.

The British Columbia Marriage License is good for three months and should be purchased two months or so before the wedding date. Bring it to the parish office once you have obtained it.

Baptism Certificates

Catholics must provide a new baptismal certificate issued within six months prior to your wedding. Non-Catholics (if baptized) provide a photocopy of their original Baptismal Certificate.

Ceremony Planning

Do this with the priest well in advance of the rehearsal. Choices for music, readings, and people involved with the liturgy should be made several weeks before the ceremony. If you want to provide a booklet for your guests to use, the priest will want to approve the draft before you print it.

Marriage with a Mass will be approx. 1 hour and marriage without a Mass 45 minutes. If the wedding starts late, the ceremony may be reduced to keep within the designated time period, especially if there is another wedding, confessions or a Mass taking place afterwards.

Preparation

A wedding is a joyous affair, made even more so in the presence of God, relatives and friends. In order to help the wedding to run smoothly, here are some guidelines and requirements for a wedding at St Pius X Parish. While these are the answers to many common questions, we recognize that you may have further questions and encourage you to contact us with your concerns.

Liturgy

The liturgy is the formal part of the day - the readings and prayers and, of course, the vows. During your Marriage Preparation class, you were/will be given a booklet with selections for the Readings during the ceremony. You are free to select the Reading of your choosing from the Old Testament, Psalms and New Testament. You may also select the Prayer of the Faithful. It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to arrange for one or two readers.

If the couple wish a priest relative to officiate at the wedding, please clear it first with the parish priest. As a general rule, a priest relative is welcome to assist at the wedding.

Music

Music is an important part of the wedding ceremony. The music chosen, however, must be appropriate to the sacredness of the Church. In selecting the music for your wedding, please remember that the ceremony is religious in nature, and thus the music must be sacred in character. Songs from movies, TV shows, or stage productions find no place in the wedding liturgy. Favourite popular songs would be better suited to the reception. If in doubt, please check with Father or the Office staff. No CD’s allowed during the liturgy.

Decorations

Decorations in the church help enhance the beauty of the day and the celebration. Please check with the Office to arrange a time for decorating.

While flowers and decorations are welcome, please respect the following restrictions:

  • No flowers or ornaments of any kind may be placed on top of the altar (table); neither can the altar be covered up or obstructed in any way.
  • Nails, staples, tacks, adhesive tape, glue or anything that would damage, deface or disfigure pews, podium, walls, any fixture or part of the church, may not be used.
  • Church adornments or decorations (e.g. statues, candles, altar cloths etc.), must not be moved or removed.
  • Large, draping curtains are not permitted.
  • Flowers, flower petals, confetti, rice, feathers, bird seed or such may not be thrown in the church or on church property (e.g. church aisles, entryway, access steps). Bubbles are fine.
  • If you or your decorator would like to come and look around, take measurements, count steps or pews or anything else, you are welcome to do so. Please call the Office to arrange a time.
  • Video/Photography

    A professional video/photographer, accustomed to working with a minimum of distractions, is permitted to take photos/video of the ceremony as long as the liturgy is not disrupted. There are some restrictions about where he/she may stand – the altar, for example, is out-of-bounds. Please advise your photographer to talk to the officiating priest prior to the wedding ceremony.

    Because the church is a place of worship and not a photo studio, neither the couple nor the photographer should expect to return to the church after the wedding for pictures.

    One month prior to the wedding two items must be brought to the Parish Office:

    1. A cheque for the use of the Church. Cheques should be made payable to St Pius X Parish.
    2. The Marriage License

    If we do not receive either the cheque or the License, we will not be able to proceed with the wedding.

    Punctuality

    It is very important that all weddings start promptly. The tardy beginning of a wedding can seriously affect subsequent services. If, for a good reason it is necessary to start late, the ceremony may have to be shortened. Please make every effort to be on time.

    Rehearsal

    The rehearsal is held the evening before the wedding. The couple, best man and maid of honour, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the ushers, and the parents of the bride and groom must attend. Please ensure that you and all those in the wedding party are on time for the rehearsal.

    St Pius X Parish is not responsible for anything left in the church.

    Please remember that the church is a sacred place and is worthy of your reverence and respect.

    If you have any questions or need clarification on anything, please contact the Parish Office at 250-762-8274.

    May God bless you both!