The celebration of a wedding is certainly a special time in the life of a couple to be married, their families and friends and also their parish community. The celebration of love between a man and a woman is certainly a grace-filled moment where the love of God is truly present. The church welcomes its members to celebrate and solemnize their wedding in the context of prayer as Christians. In fact, this moment in the lives of a man and a woman was instituted as one of the seven sacraments of the church by Jesus himself.
We celebrate the sacraments as a community of faith and therefore your wedding is a celebration of the entire Catholic community whose responsibility it is to continue to affirm and nurture you in your new life together.
In a spirit of joy and love, we provide you with the following guidelines for celebrating your wedding.
Who May Marry in the Catholic Church
Generally speaking, current members or former members (those who have moved out of the area) may celebrate their Marriage at their home parish. Couples who have moved away must obtain written permission from the pastor of the church they currently attend, as well as fulfill all requirements regarding marriage preparation, completion of marriage forms, and paper work.
Non-parishioners need to speak with the pastor of the church where they are currently attending, as well our pastor.
Setting the Wedding Date
A wedding date may be requested by calling the parish office and requesting a Marriage Inquiry Form. Once this form is completed and signed by the couple and the pastor the date of your wedding can be reserved. It is recommended that the couple secure the date with the parish priest before making any further plans.
Time of the Wedding
Only one wedding is scheduled on a Saturday at 1:00 p.m. There are occasions in the church when the liturgical calendar discourages or prohibits the celebration of weddings. For example, the season of Lent is a time of penance in the life of the church community and on certain solemnities (feast and holydays). Weddings are not scheduled on Sundays.
It is the policy of the Diocese of Greensburg that every couple planning to celebrate marriage, attend some form of marriage preparation. Couples can fulfill this requirement by attending one of the following (pre-registration is required).
- Parish Marriage Preparation
- Engaged Encounter Weekend
- Sponsor Couple Program
In addition, the couple will take part in a process known as FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study), which helps the couple deal with various issues prior to marriage.
If one of the parties is not Catholic, additional forms will be required.
Meeting with the Priest
All baptized persons preparing for marriage must present a current copy of their baptismal record. Catholic parties must present a baptismal certificate issued within six months of the marriage date. To obtain a recent copy of your baptismal certificate, call the church where you were baptized and ask to have a current certificate, including all notations, sent to the main Parish office.
All necessary interviews and subsequent paperwork should be completed between four months and one month prior to the wedding.
Declaration of Nullity
If one of the parties was married before, a copy of their Declaration of Nullity from the Catholic Church is necessary.
Marriage Preparation Certificate
This certificate is received after a couple completes one of the marriage preparation programs.
Couples will fill out required marriage forms when meeting with the priest. These forms deal with biographical information on the persons as well as determining the couple’s freedom to marry in the Catholic Church.
The Wedding Liturgy
As of December 30, 2016, the New Rite for the Order of Celebrating Matrimony has taken effect. The following are a list of some of the changes being made under the New Rite of Matrimony.
- The role of the Priest in the entrance procession.
- The entrance chants, along with some new texts are to be used in the Rite of Marriage.
- Before inviting a visiting priest, contact the parish office for guidelines. Visiting priests must follow all parish guidelines for the celebration of the wedding liturgy. If the priest is outside the Diocese of Greensburg a letter from his diocese is required.
- If a deacon is invited, the deacon’s role is to assist the priest.
- Readers: A Catholic may proclaim the readings during a Mass. A Non-Catholic Christian must have the permission of the Bishop to read during a Mass. If the wedding celebration is Outside of Mass, a Non-Catholic Christian is permitted to serve as a reader.
Couples are encouraged to take an active part in planning their wedding liturgy. The couples are given the opportunity to plan much of the liturgy themselves. A planning booklet is given to couples to guide them in this process.
The couple should contact the organist from their parish as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to discuss planning the music for the liturgy. Couples should keep in mind there are new guidelines as to what music is appropriate.
The Unity Candle is not permitted within the liturgy. It is suggested that if it is desired, it should be done at the wedding reception.
Presentation to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Private devotions are normally celebrated outside Mass. If both parties hold a special devotion to Mary, however, the presentation of flowers may be considered.
Church Decorations | Worship Environment/Floral Arrangements
- Seasonal decorations in the churches may not be altered.
- The throwing or releasing of rice, birdseed, flower petals, balloons, birds, etc. on church property is not permitted. Any other types of materials that you are considering must be cleared through the parish office.
- Only freshly cut flowers and greens may be used within the sanctuary of the church.
- A single arrangement may be placed on the floor in front of the altar or floral bobaches (arrangements) may be placed in the lower level of the candle stands. Flower arrangements may be placed against the back wall of the sanctuary.
- If pew decorations are used they must be approved by the Parish Office, please call for information. Candles, tapes, and glue may not be used.
- The florist, photographer and/or videographer must contact the parish office one month before the wedding.
- Flowers placed in the sanctuary will remain there for the weekend liturgies.
- Aisle runners are not permitted due to liability.
- Absolutely no flower petals (fresh or artificial) are to be scattered in the aisle.
While we understand your desire to record this moment, please keep in mind that your wedding liturgy is a sacred moment. Photographers and videographers are expected to act in a professional manner at all times. They are not permitted to roam around the church once the liturgy has begun. They should report to the priest’s sacristy before the wedding to review the guidelines.
No cameras or microphones are to be attached to the church appointments. The photographer and/or videographer must contact the parish office one month before the wedding.
You have 30 minutes after the ceremony ends for photographs OR a receiving line. This will be strictly enforced.
Usually the wedding rehearsal takes place the evening before the wedding ceremony. It is your responsibility to contact the parish office to schedule the time of your rehearsal. The parish wedding coordinator will direct the rehearsal and will give a brief overview of the wedding Mass or ceremony to help all understand the prayerful nature of the celebration. We ask that you make sure that all members of the wedding party and all ministers (readers, offertory gift bearers, etc.) be present and on time for the rehearsal and wedding.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
The opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation is provided on Saturdays. Couples wishing to receive this sacrament should attend either the regularly scheduled Saturday or Sunday confession, or make prior arrangements with their priest.
A marriage license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must be obtained and presented to the priest two weeks before the wedding. Marriage licenses can be obtained from any county courthouse but are not available until 60 days prior to the wedding date. All marriage papers must be in the parish office at least two weeks before the wedding.
Fees & Offerings
The stipend partially covers the FOCCUS instrument, some marriage preparation materials, rehearsal, church and clergy stipend, as well as server stipends. Make check payable to your home parish. This stipend is to be paid one month prior to the wedding. If parishioners participate in marriage preparation in another parish, or invite an additional priest to concelebrate, they are still responsible for the $350 stipend as well as any other stipends.
Please note: If there are any extenuating financial circumstances, please speak to the pastor.
Alcoholic Beverages: No alcoholic beverages are permitted on church property. Limousine drivers should be informed of this restriction.
Programs: They are permitted, but in no way needed or required. They must reflect accurately the movement of the liturgy and not infringe on copyright laws. Please provide the organist with a copy for approval before printing.
Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: They should be five years of age or older so that they are able to perform the task of serving as an attendant without any assistance.
Photographs/Receiving Line: You have thirty minutes after the ceremony ends for photographs or a receiving line. This will be strictly enforced.
We hope these guidelines prove helpful to you in planning your wedding liturgy. Certainly know we are always here to help you with any questions.
* Please note: Guidelines are always subject to change.