Sacrament of Marriage
Marriage Preparation Guidelines for
St. Brigid Parish
845 East Broadway
Gate of Heaven Parish
The greatest of these is love
Marriage at the Saint Brigid and Gate of Heaven Parish Community is more than the celebration of a couple's love for each other. While the Church rejoices in your love for one another, we also recognize that celebrating your Wedding in the Catholic Church presupposes your connection with God in faith and with the Church. The Sacrament of Marriage in the Church solemnizes Marriage in the context of prayer. Great care is taken to see that the prayer for this special moment is reverent, graceful, beautiful and open to the movement of God's Spirit among us. The celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is incomplete unless it is filled with song, with prayerful gestures and with silence in which we hear the voice of God in our lives. In this spirit, St. Brigid and Gate of Heaven Parishes provide the following guidelines so that this time of joy will not only be an experience filled with happiness, but also one that expresses faith and reverence in God, in whose love we have been created.
Couples seeking marriage at our parish must be a registered parishioner and have a legal permanent address in South Boston, MA 02127.
Preparation for Marriage
1. Meetings with Priest:
This first contact and meeting will enable the priest and couple to get acquainted. Subsequent meetings are part of the preparation for marriage. As the wedding date draws near, attention will shift to planning the wedding liturgy.
2. Marriage Preparation (Pre-Cana) Program:
For your Pre-Cana program there are two options: The Marriage Preparation offered by St. Brigid and Gate of Heaven Parishes and held once a year or the program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston. A list of these programs can be obtained from the priest with whom you are speaking or on the internet at www.rcab.org.
It is required that you attend one of the Marriage Preparation Programs before being married. It is suggested that you register early to be sure a spot is reserved for you. We also suggest that you attend the Pre-Cana Marriage Preparation Program soon after your first meeting with the priest.
Planning Your Wedding
1. Mass or Ceremony?
A nuptial Mass is the most appropriate celebration as you begin your married life. We highly recommend this form of marriage celebration for all engaged Catholic couples. There are certain circumstances, however, when a ceremony would be more appropriate. You should make your decision in consultation with the priest who is assisting in the preparation for your marriage.
You might want to consider the following:
a. What is our relationship to the Sunday Eucharist? Have been away from the community's prayer? Have committed ourselves to returning?
b. If one of you is not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church (and so will be unable to share Holy Communion if the wedding is celebrated during Mass), you may want to consider what this means for you and your families. Do you want to include something in this celebration in which only one of you will be able to take part?
c. Who will your guests be? If many of your guests are from outside the Catholic community, you may want to consider celebrating your wedding within a ceremony. If many are weekly participants in the Eucharist, a ceremony may cause confusion with their interpretation of the usual celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage.
Above all, be open and honest with the priest with whom you are preparing your wedding and make the decision which will provide the best context for prayer and celebration.
2. Scheduling the time of the celebration:
Weddings are scheduled with respect to the couple's wishes and the availability of the church building and parish ministers. Weddings are usually scheduled on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. Weddings are scheduled on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. through 4:00 p.m.
Music is an integral part of the celebration of the sacrament of
marriage. The music you select must be prayerful and in keeping with the liturgy of the occasion. The choice must always be consistent with the Church's understanding of worship. Popular songs, even those with great sentimental value for the couple, have their rightful place at the reception and not at the celebration of the Sacrament. The priest can assist you in choosing appropriate music for your Wedding. Our Parish Music Director/Organist, Carolyn Martin, is available to assist in the planning of your celebration. Please contact her regarding your music and choice of soloist at least two months prior to your wedding. At this time we have three soloists—Felecia Plunkett, Ann Marie Powers, Janet O’Leary — that are available for singing at Weddings. These soloists sing at the Masses on the weekends, so you can arrange to listen to them at that time. The fee for the organist/music director is $175 and the fee for the soloist is $150. These fees are to be paid directly to the singer and musician and is due in the Parish Office no later than 15 days prior to the date of your wedding. Please note that our organist must be paid even if you schedule an organist from outside the parish. Guest musicians (trumpeter, violinist, etc.) are welcome, but arrangements must be made through the music director.
Flowers may be placed in the sanctuary on the back altar area.
Flowers are not placed on the altar itself. An aisle runner is not
necessary for the celebration of
your marriage, but if you choose to use one, the florist usually provides a white aisle
runner. Often during the reception of
Communion the aisle runner can pose a risk to your guests walking back and
forth. Please take this into consideration
before making arrangements. The church aisle 120 feet.
The florist is responsible for placing the flowers in the sanctuary and
setting up the aisle runner. Please
be certain that your florist place the flowers/aisle runner/bows etc. in their
appropriate spots and not leave these items in the Church. The florist should prepare the Church 30-45
minutes before the celebration. Florists
should also be aware of the Parish Mass schedule, especially the 4:00 PM on
Saturday. We do ask that you leave the flowers on the altar for the continued
enrichment of our sanctuary and the enjoyment of your fellow parishioners. In keeping with the norms of the
The Liturgy during which you celebrate your marriage is a sacred moment of rejoicing in prayer, song and gesture. While we understand your desire to record this moment, we ask that you observe the following guidelines so that the sacred joy of this day will be preserved.
1. Both professional photographers and video technicians are welcome at our parish. We ask that only one Photographer and one Video Technician be employed during the ceremony. Any relatives or friends taking pictures should remain in their seats.
2. Video-photographers are not permitted to roam about the Church once the liturgy has begun. Video Cameras must remain on a tripod in one of the side aisles once the bride reaches the altar until the final blessing.
3. Only the lighting already available in the Church may be used. No additional lighting may be brought into the Church or used with a video camera. Flash Photography is permitted.
4. Photographers and video photographers should consult with the priest before the service begins concerning any restrictions that may apply. Under no circumstances are videographers or photographers allowed in the altar sanctuary.
5. These policies provide for ample time to take photos during the ceremony. If you think that additional time for pictures inside the church is needed following the ceremony, please speak with the priest prior to your wedding date.
6. "Together for Life" Booklet:
The priest will provide you with a booklet Together for Life by Joseph M. Champlin to help you plan your Wedding Mass/Ceremony. Within this booklet you will find a number of choices of prayers, readings, vows, etc. that you may select for your wedding. A handy pull-out selection sheet is found at the end of the booklet to be filled out with your choices and presented at the parish office no later than 15 days before your wedding date, along with the other paperwork and donations.
7. Fees and Offerings to the Parish:
The offering to the Parish is usually in proportion to the amount spent on the wedding. The offering for the Parish is $500 which is required in two payments 1.) $250 deposit within 30 days of arranging the wedding (this secures your date) and 2.) $250 due 15 days prior to the date of your wedding. This amount may be reduced if you are currently contributing to the parish on a regular basis — please consult the priest that is celebrating your wedding regarding this reduction. The donation goes to the maintenance, heat, electricity costs of the parish. This donation is not for the priest. If you wish to show your appreciation for the time and effort made by the priest in assisting you to prepare for this day, you may do so at your discretion. Our wedding coordinator, Stephen Fahrig, assists you in planning your celebration and will direct your rehearsal and be present for the start of your Nuptial Mass or ceremony. The fee for the wedding coordinator is $75. It is customary to a give a gift to the two altar servers assigned to your wedding. The recommended offering is a minimum of $10 each.
8. Documents Needed:
A. Church Documents
If you are a Catholic: you will need a copy of your Baptismal
certificate and Confirmation certificate sent by mail from the parish of origin to our Parish in care of the priest who is witnessing your marriage. These should be newly furnished (dated within six months of your Marriage) by the parish in which the sacrament was celebrated. If you are a non-Catholic Christian: you will need a copy of your Baptismal certificate. This should be a newly furnished document by the Church in which you were baptized.
B. Civil Documents:
You must obtain a marriage license at any town or city hall in
apply for this license from 60 days before your wedding date. Please present your license to the parish office no later than 15 days prior to you wedding date. Please make sure that the self-addressed envelope from the city or town is with the license.
9. Wedding Rehearsal:
Your Wedding Rehearsal should be held one or two days before the date of the wedding. These are usually held between 5:00-7:00 p.m. Please schedule this with the priest at least two months before your wedding date. Rehearsals are scheduled every 45 minutes, please be certain that everyone attending the rehearsal is “on time”. Due to time constraints, all rehearsals will begin at the scheduled time, even if all the participants are not present. The following are asked to be present at the wedding rehearsal: Bride, Groom, Best Man, Maid/Matron of Honor, Ushers, Bridesmaids, Bride and Grooms parents, and any others who will take part in the ceremony (readers, etc.). Our wedding coordinator, Stephen Fahrig, will be present for your rehearsal and will also be at the church for the start of your wedding on the day of your marriage.
A. Ushers: Ushers are asked to arrive at the Church 1/2 hour before the Wedding is scheduled to begin. Ushers will be seating your guests during this time period.
B. Groom/Best Man: The Groom and Best Man are asked to arrive at the Church 1/2 hour before the Wedding is to begin. They will remain in the sacristy until the Wedding begins.
C. Bride/Maid of Honor/Bridesmaids: The Bride, Maid of Honor, and Bridesmaids should arrive outside the Church at least 10 minutes before the ceremony. The Bride should be inside the Church at least 5 minutes before the wedding is scheduled to begin. It is extremely important that your wedding begins at the scheduled time. When making arrangements for transportation and
photographs at your homes and on the Church steps please be aware of the time involved.
D. Readers: We encourage the participation of relatives and friends as readers during your ceremony. The first reading (Old Testament), second reading (New Testament), and prayers of the faithful may be proclaimed by someone of your choice. We highly recommend that you choose someone who is comfortable reading in public and has had some experience in public speaking. Please be sure that your readers know the meaning behind the words and will speak clearly and loudly.
E. Gift Bearers: The gifts of bread and wine which will be
consecrated at Mass are sometimes offered by the congregation. If you wish, two relatives or friends may bring forward the gifts of bread and wine at offertory time.
F. Confetti, Rice, Bubbles, Flower Petals: We must insist that you request your guests to refrain from the throwing of rice, confetti, bird seed, & blowing bubbles in church or on the steps of the church, etc... This is due to the danger of a person's falling and being injured. In addition there may be a Mass or another wedding scheduled after yours. There is no maintenance staff on duty on the weekends.
G. Unity Candles: While the unity candle is a beautiful way for the newly married couple to express their union in Marriage, it has not traditionally been part of the Catholic ceremony. It can be a fire hazard and has resulted in injury and property damage in the past. For these reasons, unity candles may not be used in the church. Those couples who would like to make the unity candle part of their wedding day are encouraged to incorporate it into the reception.
H. Receiving Line: Receiving Lines are permitted after your
Wedding ceremony when there is no conflicting Mass or Wedding ceremony immediately following. Please inquire with the priest
handling your wedding for further instructions on this matter.
I. Preparation to receive the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony and Communion: All Catholics should be properly disposed to receive the sacrament of Holy Matrimony and the Eucharist by availing
themselves of the sacrament of reconciliation before their wedding day. Please consider the Sacrament of Penance before your
scheduled Wedding date.
J. Prayer at the Reception: In these days of fewer priests, the one who celebrates your wedding might find it difficult, if not impossible, to attend your wedding reception to celebrate with you and lead grace before the meal. The following grace prayer may be used at your reception. We suggest that you might ask a family member to lead the grace before the meal when a priest is unavailable.
10. The Day of the Wedding Mass/Ceremony:
Be on time! Weddings are scheduled for a 1½ hour period. It is important to be aware of the time
constraints that the Church has in scheduling Weddings, Masses and other
liturgical celebrations. If there is a
Mass or other celebration scheduled after your Wedding and you are late, it may
be necessary to shorten your celebration so that the Church will be available
for the next
Marriage Preparation Checklist
Marriage Date: _____________ Marriage Time: _____________
Priest Celebrant: _______________________
Marriage Preparation (Pre-Cana) completed: __________
(preferably 6 months prior to the date of wedding)
Deposit to secure your wedding date, $250 ______
(within 30 days of booking your wedding)
Baptismal & Confirmation Certificate sent to priest: __________
(6 Months prior to your wedding date)
Organist contacted & singer arranged: __________
(no later than 2 months prior to date of wedding)
Marriage License received: __________
(60—15 days prior to your wedding date)
Rehearsal Date: __________ Rehearsal Time: __________
(book with priest at least 2 months prior to wedding date)
Please present the following items to the parish office no later than 15 days before your wedding date:
1. Selection sheet (filled out completely) from Together For Life booklet.
2. Marriage License granted by State(please include the envelope provided by city/town)
3. Church Donation (offering of $250 in separate envelope).
4. Wedding Coordinator (Stephen Fahrig) fee ($75 in separate envelope). (Stephen Fahrig)
5. Altar Server's Stipend ($10 each in separate envelopes).
6.Organist (Carolyn Martin) fee ($150 in separate envelope)
7. Soloist fee, if applicable ($125 in separate envelope)
Prayer of Blessing at Reception
Let us Pray…
Lord God, we thank you for all of your many gifts to us today, especially the gift of
Married love and family and friends.
We ask you to send down your
blessing upon us gathered here together.
In a special way, bless (Bride) and (Groom),
who today have been married.
Keep them always in your care.
Bless the food we eat, the conversation we share, and bless our lives with your grace.
We ask this in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
The priests and staff of St. Brigid Parish
and Gate of Heaven Parish
pray that you have a
Blessed Wedding Day
and beautiful life together in Christ
These guidelines were reviewed and approved
as of January 1, 2007