marriageA young woman protested to her mother that she was the one being married and should be allowed to do things her way. “Mother”, said the bride-to-be, “You had your wedding twenty-five years ago”. “No, dear,” came the reply, “that was my mother’s wedding.”

In our tradition marriage is a Sacrament, one of seven. Simply put, Sacraments are signs or acts of God’s love which touch us as we are.

As husband and wife grow together, love, offend, forgive, reconcile, work through disappointment and emerge as united, they become a living and effective sign that says to all: this is the way God is. He loves us through thick and thin, for better, for worse, till death and beyond. Marriage is a sign ..... a Sacrament ..... of that.

The decision to marry is one of the most significant decisions in life. Since it effects both State and Church there are certain requirements to be fulfilled:

  1. Marriage Preparation Program. This entails a seminar of approximately eleven hours duration and is conducted by trained and married educators. Enquiries through CatholicCare, Parramatta (02)9933-0213. Booking is essential. See Catholic Engaged Encounter at www.engagedencounter.org.
  2. Provide Appropriate Documents
    • Birth Certificates or extracts
    • A recently issued notification of Baptism for Catholics (available on enquiry from the Catholic Church where you were baptised). The same or original Baptism Certificates for Christians of other denominations
    • For those under 18 years old, a signed consent from parents
    • Death Certificates of former spouse, Decree of Nullity/dissolution, Decree of divorce if applicable.
  3. Complete Official State and Church documents with the celebrant.


Book the Church. This should be done at least 6 months prior to the wedding. It is recommended and normally necessary that at least one of the couple lives in Holy Spirit parish. Bookings will not be taken by phone.

Times for Weddings may be arranged for any day except Sunday, Holy (Easter) Saturday and the last Saturday before Christmas.  On Saturdays, the latest starting time is 4 p.m.

Ceremony of Marriage. Each couple is encouraged to prepare their own individual celebration with the help of the celebrant – choosing readings, prayers, etc. There are two different celebrations:

  1. Nuptial Mass, i.e. the ceremony of marriage within a Mass offered with and for the couple. The assumption is that a couple requests it because Mass is important to them, and they intend to make regular Mass attendance part of their family life. This importance is, of course, obvious and easily proven because they have been faithful to their worship with the parish community.
  2. Marriage Ceremony, i.e. the ceremony within a Scripture – Prayer Service. This is strongly recommended in cases where church going has not been a part of a person’s formative years or where a Catholic is marrying a person from another Christian tradition.

Witnesses. Law requires two witnesses over the age of 18 to sign the marriage certificates and the register.

Music. Some songs do not display the basic character of Christian love, that is, the self-giving which goes beyond the physical and emotional level and are not appropriate to reflect what is being celebrated in this Sacrament. If in doubt, consult the celebrant. The parish is able to refer you to organists.

Charges. Organist fees, charges and donations to the church and the celebrant should be in keeping with the norms of the area, comparative to other wedding costs and may be negotiated with the celebrant.

The Parish facilities are maintained by the financial contributions of those who worship regularly in this church and who give money via the Sunday collections or the envelope giving system. Persons who do not make such regular contributions to the recurrent running costs of the church are expected to make a contribution to the church on this occasion. The Priest Celebrant would normally devote a number of hours to the couple and the occasion. A donation in recognition of this would normally be comparative to that expected by a civil celebrant.

Other Matters. Flowers, confetti, videoing and photography must be discussed with the celebrant before arrangements are made.

Life is a process and married life even more so. The Sacrament of Marriage is a gift to those who wish to return to the values and Spirit they know they will need in their life together.

 

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