THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – TOGETHER FOR LIFE
“They are no longer two but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together,
human beings must not divide” (Mark 10:8-9).
The holy sacrament of matrimony is one of the most blessed moments that are part of the Church’s life. Two people in a public way come together in front of God, the Church’s minister, their families and witnesses to promise a special kind of love to each other for life and to bring forth new life! It is truly a sacred and wonderful event!
It is our privilege and honor at Blessed Seelos Parish to welcome many couples every year who want to celebrate their marriage in our parish. As a parish staff, we want to assist you in planning and preparing for this sacred event.
We have a Wedding Coordinator that will help you in this process, but we would like you to take a look at our Wedding Guidelines, which you can access in this section of our website, before you contact our Wedding Coordinator. We would like you to see our times and days for weddings and also to call our parish in order to speak to the pastor and office staff in order to schedule your wedding. We ask you to contact the parish as early as two years in advance but no later than 6 months in advance of the wedding to check availability of the church and of the pastor or deacon to prepare you for your wedding. This should be done before you try to talk to a reception hall or any other place that will be used for that special day. We remind you that the celebration of the sacrament and the availability of the pastor and the church should be the first inquiry that you make as a couple. That’s why we recommend making this contact as early as possible.
After doing this and carefully reading our Wedding Guidelines, please feel free to contact our pastor at 504-943-5566 or 504-717-7912 for immediate assistance for your first meeting and who will help you with any questions you may have and guide you through the process.
We look forward to celebrate with you this special day!
6 – 12 Months Prior to the Wedding
- Immediately after making the decision to marry, visit your parish priest before making any other arrangements, including the reception. After the initial interview, plan the wedding date and the rehearsals. Discuss the marriage with the priest the preparation program which includes:
- Engaged Encounter, Day for the Engaged or other appropriate retreat of the kind;
- Natural Family Planning class;
- Compatibility assessment;
- Liturgy preparation
- Keep in touch with the pastor of the parish.
Note: You can contact the church two years in advance. We take reservations for two years or less.
3 – 6 Months Prior to the Wedding
- Depending on the timing and completion of the marriage preparation program, this final phase could range anywhere from one to three months before the wedding. In the final phase, the priest will discuss what you have learned and experienced during the marriage preparation program and your understanding of the sacrament in light of the formal preparation. The priest will discuss your responsibilities as future parents and as spouses, and complete documentary requirements.
- The priest will grant permission for interfaith marriage and/or apply for appropriate permissions or dispensation.
- The reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist as fitting preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony will be addressed.
- Finalize the wedding liturgy and plan wedding rehearsal at the church. Wedding rehearsals typically take place the Thursday or Friday before the wedding.
Note: Marriages customarily could be announced by banns read during Mass or published in a church bulletin, for three consecutive weeks, but this is not required.
- Need a recent copy of Baptismal Certificate.
- In the case of interfaith marriages, the Catholic partner is still required to promise to continue observing the Catholic faith and to do his/her best to raise children as Catholics. The promise is made in the presence of the non-Catholic partner, who no longer is asked to make that promise or commitment.
Language and Cultural Traditions
- Determine the language of the wedding ceremony. It could be English, Spanish or bilingual.
- Discuss with the priest and the wedding coordinator and notify them of any particular cultural custom to incorporate in the wedding liturgy.
You have the option of:
- A traditional procession in which the bride processes in alone. The priest and ministers wait at the altar to receive the groom, their attendants and the bride.
- The full procession includes the priest and the servers, cross bearer as well as witnesses, bridesmaids and groomsmen. The groom is encouraged to process in with his parents and the bride with her parents.
Ceremony: Order of the Rite of Marriage
- Format of the Mass is supplied to the couple.
- A greeting is issued by the priest after entry into the church, first to the bride and groom and then to their guests.
- An opening prayer follows.
- The Liturgy of the Word includes readings from the Old and New Testaments, a responsorial psalm, the “Alleluia” before the Gospel, and a Gospel reading. The selections may be read by the priest, deacon or by honored members of the wedding party.
- The homily elaborates on the marriage theme. If the priest knows the couple well, he may interlace his homily with personal references.
- The exchange of the rings follows the exchange of vows. The best man who usually has both rings gives the bride’s ring to the priest, who blesses it and gives it to the bridegroom who then places it on the bride’s finger. In a double ring ceremony, after the bride receives her ring, the blessing and presentation will be repeated for the bridegroom’s ring.
- The Prayer of the Faithful follows which may also include personal prayer by the couple.
- During a Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is celebrated at this time.
- Those who are chosen to bring gifts of wine and bread to the altar carry out their role at this point.
- Holy Communion under both species.
- Some brides may consider honoring the role of the Virgin Mary as Christ’s Mother by presenting flowers at a side altar dedicated to Mary.
Note: The conclusion of a wedding without Mass is the Lord’s Prayer and a Blessing. At a Mass, the service ends with a Blessing and Dismissal.
- Fees for the organist and soloist are the responsibility of the couple. A list of the music must be approved by the celebrant. The wedding coordinator can provide suggestions as to the music, organists or soloists.
- Fee: $300.00 for soloist or organist. This fee is in addition to the reservation fee mentioned below.This fee is applicable only if Blessed Seelos musicians are used during the ceremony. You have the option of bringing in your own musicians as well.
- Bridal Party
- Flower Girl – silk petals. Someone from the wedding picks them up at the end of the ceremony.
- Presentation to the Virgin Mary
- Church – Options
- One flower arrangements in front of Ambo
- Smaller arrangements for the High Altar
- Pews—flowers or bows, attach with ribbon or elastic. No clips.
FEES FOR THE WEDDING
$800.00 reservation fee for parishioners
$1,100.00 reservation fee for non-parishioners.
A non-refundable $300.00 deposit is required to reserve the Church. The remaining balance should be paid a month before the wedding.
There is no suggested stipend for the priest or deacon celebrant, but it is also appropriate for the couple to consider a modest gift to the celebrant for his ministry.
- When the ceremony takes place during a Nuptial Mass, the bridal party normally kneels, stands or sits during the entire ceremony.
- A kneeling bench is provided for the bride and groom, with the bridal party using the first pews in the congregational seating.
- The Roman Catholic Church has changed much of its approach regarding the marriage of Catholics and non-Catholics. This issue should be thoroughly discussed with the priest or deacon who is presiding at the marriage. The Church may prefer both Best Man and Maid of Honor be Catholic, but no longer requires that one or both of them be. The other attendants need not be Catholic but will be instructed in the required courtesies and reverences.
Feel free to contact the pastor via email for any questions you may have. We are here to serve you!