Guidelines for Marriage Preparation
Thank you for considering celebrating your marriage at St James the Apostle Church. The following information should help as you begin the process of preparing as a couple for the Sacrament of Matrimony.
In deciding to get married at our Church, you are indicating a willingness to invest some time and effort into the preparation and ceremony for your wedding. The months leading up to your wedding should be a time of joy in the relationship between you and your partner. We ask that you please respect our prayer space as this is the place where the Catholic community of St James worships.
In the course of our life, there are moments which are celebrated with special emphasis and care. These moments are called Sacraments and are celebrated with the faith community. In Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, we are born through water and the Holy Spirit into God’s household. When our relationship within and outside the household of faith are tangled or even severed, these ties are restored through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Some are called to minister to the community and are ordained for service as deacons, priests or bishops. When one of us falls ill, we gather around the sick with prayer and anointing. And when a man and a woman fall in love and make their commitment before God and the church, we gather with them in moments of joyful promise as they become ministers of the Sacrament of Marriage to one another.
Sunday Eucharist before Marriage
All sacraments point towards the Eucharist. Here is the very life-blood of our Christian Life. Our whole tradition has upheld the weekly community celebration together as Church, as the minimum necessary to maintain and to nourish the life of the Spirit within us. If we have been somewhat neglectful in this regard until now, the marriage engagement period is an excellent time to have a change of heart and to begin afresh our weekly participation in the Sunday Eucharist. By your participation in the Sunday Eucharist, you show that you are part of the Catholic community and desire to celebrate a Catholic wedding and form a Catholic family.
This is also a good opportunity for you to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and receive the healing touch of Christ in your life, while preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. Reconciliation times in our church are on Saturdays between 9:30 am and 10:00 am, and between 5.00 pm and 5.30 pm.
Marriage Preparation Course
Marriage is a sacrament, a serious life-long commitment.
weddings1 It is not merely a matter of arranging for the reception, filling in the necessary papers and getting to the church on time. As part of the preparation for marriage, it is necessary that the bridal couple receive instruction for married life. This is done by attending a marriage preparation course. We firmly insist on your participating in this course because we feel it is important to spend time reflecting on your future life together. No matter how well you know each other, being married is very different from being single. As we are all aware marriages do break down so we feel that it is important for you to explore ways of communicating with each other and how to handle finances, stress and conflict, which are a part of everyday life. The Catholic Church recommends that all couples attend an approved marriage preparation course. Please contact DAVY FERNANDEZ on 0412 434 195, Catholic Care facilitator who runs FOCCUS Marriage Preparation Courses for St James and St Peter.
In accordance with legislation and ATO rulings, there is no GST payable for a religious service. We do, however, ask for a contribution of $200 to support the general running and maintenance cost of the church, payable upon confirmation of booking.
All cheques are to be made payable to St James the Apostle Church or cash contributions can be made at the parish office, Monday to Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.
The Celebrant at the Wedding
It is the responsibility of the couple to book the celebrant and to organise a meeting with him six months before their wedding. Any Catholic priest or deacon can celebrate weddings at St James the Apostle Church. With the celebrant the couple will decide whether they are to have a nuptial Mass or a wedding service.
The celebrant’s contribution is usually a minimum of $300 for the wedding ceremony which can be given to the parish office or to your celebrant one month before the wedding.
If you require the use of the church for a rehearsal prior to your wedding (normally the week before your wedding) you can arrange this by ringing the parish secretary during office hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 3:00 pm.
Please Produce the Following Documents when you meet your Celebrant
- BIRTH CERTIFICATE OR FOREIGN PASSPORT – The law requires Australian born persons to present an original birth certificate.
- BAPTISM CERTIFICATE – A recently issued certificate is required in the case of all baptised persons. This can be obtained by contacting the church where the baptism took place. It is normal procedure to ask for a recently issued baptism certificate for marriage purposes.
- A PHOTO ID – A driver’s licence, passport, proof or age card or any other identification card needs to be produced.
- CONFIRMATION – You need to inform the celebrant if you have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
- PRE-NUPTIAL INQUIRY AND NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE – Please organise a meeting with your celebrant to fill in these papers at least three months before the wedding. Birth, baptism and any other certificates need to be presented at this time.
- PERMISSION TO MARRY OUTSIDE OF YOUR PARISH/FREEDOM TO MARRY – Please organise to obtain a permission letter from your Parish Priest if you reside outside of the St James Parish boundaries.
The Following Issues need to be discussed with your Celebrant
If either party has been through any form of marriage before, no matter where or when, it is very important to discuss this with your celebrant before making a firm booking. In these cases the death certificate of the previous spouse, a certificate of annulment of the previous marriage and divorce papers have to be supplied.
At least one party has to be Catholic for the church to be used for a wedding. When one partner is not a Catholic, the Catholic party will be asked to sign and answer the question, “Do you sincerely promise to do all in your power to share your faith with your children by having them baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church?” The marriage ceremony is the same in all cases.
Texts for the Marriage Ceremony
The texts of the marriage rite are available from the celebrant or from this website weddings.mssp.org.au The couple is invited to choose their scripture readings, and other options, to personalise their wedding celebration.
Nuptial Mass/ Wedding Service
If a nuptial Mass is to be celebrated, the celebrant decides whether the bridal couple should receive both the Body and the Blood of Christ. On the occasion of a marriage of mixed religion or non-practising Catholics, a service is usually preferred. The decision, however, is to be made in consultation with the celebrant. Due consideration is to be given to the feelings of the non-Catholic party.
The couple is encouraged to ask adults to proclaim the Scripture readings. The readers need to be able to proclaim the reading clearly and intelligibly.
Choosing Your Wedding Music
Music in a Christian Wedding Service
Music is a servant in worship. It is never to be done for its own sake within a celebration of Christian worship. Music chosen for your wedding should be chosen to suit the different parts of the whole celebration. The text of sung pieces should always respect the particular emphasis of the action and gesture being celebrated. “Performance” type music must be carefully avoided. There is room for solo pieces and/or choir pieces for folk type music, as well as for more classical music. Good taste and dignity will determine what is sung, by whom, when and how. These should be discussed with the celebrant.
These guidelines are suggestions based upon an understanding of the reality being celebrated. Popular music from Broadway musicals or from pop movies is not allowed during the celebration. Should you particularly wish to play a secular / modern song, the most appropriate time would be at the signing of the register. As a matter of courtesy, please discuss your choice with your celebrant. It is the bridal couple’s responsibility to organise the musicians. The parish musicians (our preferred musicians) are available if you need assistance and may help you to choose the music for your wedding. Costs and payment arrangements are to be discussed directly with the musicians chosen. To book “Celebrating with Harmony”, our resident church musicians, please contact BELINDA HYLAND on 0402 946 705.
Photographs may be taken before the celebration. Professional photographers are permitted to take pictures during the celebration provided they do not become a distraction. This norm helps to preserve the true reverence for the celebration. Videos are permitted. Please request the photographer or videographer to introduce themselves to the celebrant prior to the celebration.
Decoration of the Church
It is the responsibility of the bridal couple to organise the flower arrangement for the church. The ONLY OTHER decorations permitted in our church are PEW DECORATIONS. If required, they are to be provided by the wedding couple. Pew decorations are understood as being a length of material secured to the pew end. The material must be kept clear from the floor and not limit access in and out of the seats. If a spray of flowers is used, this must not be higher than 15 cm from the pew end and must be secured to the pew. Free standing pots, arrangements, candelabras etc., are not permitted. Our resident church florist may be available to assist you if you need any help for the arrangements. Please contact PHUONG TRAN NGUYEN on 0403 165 589. It is also requested that flower arrangements be left at the church for the Sunday Mass celebrations.
No thumb tacks, blue tac or sticky tape of any kind is to be used on the pews, chairs or church furniture. No decorations permitted on candle-stands, altar or ambo. You need to ensure that you arrange for someone to remove pew decorations and booklets from the pews immediately after the wedding.
Confetti, Bubbles and Candles
The church and the grounds are cleaned in preparation for weekend services and weddings. You are therefore advised that FLOWER PETALS, CONFETTI OR RICE ARE NOT PERMITTED either inside or outside the church. USE OF CANDLES AS DECORATIONS IS PROHIBITED. Past experience has shown that soap water used for bubbles causes damage to the carpet and the pews, BUBBLE BOTTLES SHOULD BE KEPT OUTSIDE THE CHURCH.