Thank you for inquiring about weddings and marriage preparation at St. Francis of Assisi. We want to support and assist you in the best way possible as you embark on this very important commitment in your lives.
This page is intended to answer a few of the questions which are most likely on your mind at this time. It may also help you to raise some questions which have not yet occurred to you but which will be important for you to consider as you make plans for your wedding.
Who can be married at St. Francis of Assisi?
Normally, those who are registered parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi. The Catholic Church has a long tradition of celebrating the sacraments within one’s own community of faith. There can be exceptions to this, however. For example, couples belonging to another parish might wish to celebrate their wedding at St. Francis of Assisi with a priest or deacon from their home parish officiating – or with a family friend who is a priest or deacon.
Is there a fee involved for a St. Francis of Assisi wedding or for Marriage Preparation?
While there is no fee for the wedding liturgy itself (i.e., we won’t charge you to use the church), there are deposits and fees surrounding weddings. The fee assigned to your celebration at St. Francis of Assisi includes the deposit to secure the date and helps defray the costs of the services of the Director of Liturgy and Music, and offsets the costs of materials for the Marriage Preparation process.
All marriage preparation fees and music direction fees are discussed during the initial interview at the start of the marriage preparation process. No parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi is ever turned away because of an inability to pay the fee.
The parishioner rate for marriage preparation is set in order to honor the commitment of participating, contributing members of the parish. Normally speaking, the parishioner rate applies to those who have been registered and contributing members for at least six months prior to scheduling.
How does a St. Francis of Assisi parishioner arrange to confirm a wedding date on the St. Francis of Assisi wedding calendar?
If the bride, groom, or either of their parents are active members at St. Francis of Assisi with six months of regular, identifiable contributions to our community, you may begin scheduling a wedding by completing our initial inquiry form, available online by clicking here. We will review your submission and preference regarding a date and time for your wedding. We will then contact you to discuss a tentative date, and to set an appointment to take care of the required paperwork. Your date will remain tentative until the paperwork has been completed and approved.
How does someone who is either not a St. Francis of Assisi parishioner or a parishioner who has not made identifiable contributions arrange to confirm a wedding date on the St. Francis of Assisi wedding calendar?
As a non-parishioner, you may choose to have a priest or deacon from your home parish come to preside at the wedding. If you have not been a parishioner very long, you could also choose to have a priest who is a relative or a close friend preside. The Family Life Coordinator will work with you to find an agreeable date for your wedding and will assist you with the requisite paperwork. The chosen date will remain tentative until the visiting priest or deacon has requested and received permission for the marriage from the pastor at St. Francis of Assisi.
Who is able to officiate at weddings at St. Francis of Assisi?
The Pastor, the associate pastor, or a deacon normally officiates at St. Francis of Assisi weddings. But permission can be given for a priest- or deacon-friend to officiate. And, as indicated above, if you belong to another parish, your pastor will be the appropriate person to approach in this matter.
Non-Catholic clergy are welcome to be present for a St. Francis of Assisi wedding, but may not preside over a wedding by themselves.
Are people who are not of the Catholic faith able to be married at St. Francis of Assisi?
They are, if they are marrying a Catholic person.
Is some sort of preparation needed for couples wishing to be married?
Yes. Since marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacrament and a lifetime commitment, one of the ways we value and honor it is by taking time to help couples prepare. All St. Francis of Assisi parishioners begin this process by completing a comprehensive Pre-Marriage Inventory, followed by an interview with a member of the marriage preparation team over the course of their preparation. Couples are required to participate in a diocesan marriage preparation program, including the Marriage Preparation Workshop and the Wedding Orientation session offered by St. Francis of Assisi. Couples who are not St. Francis of Assisi parishioners and are participating in preparation remotely will deal with this matter directly with the priest or deacon who is local to them, or who will officiate at their wedding.
When may weddings take place at St. Francis of Assisi?
Saturdays at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, or 3:00 pm.
Please be aware that the Church discourages, but does not forbid, the celebration of weddings during Lent – a season of penance and austerity. There are other weekends when liturgical celebrations preclude weddings from occurring, most notably the Easter Triduum and our parish celebration of the Feast of our patron, St. Francis of Assisi.
Do Catholic weddings always take place in the context of a Mass?
No. Weddings are only celebrated during Mass when both parties are of the Catholic faith, but such a couple could ask to hold their wedding during a Liturgy of the Word (a service without Holy Communion). It is preferable, even desirable, to hold your wedding during a Liturgy of the Word if many of your guests are not Catholic and are not familiar with the prayers and responses of the Mass. Please note that holding a wedding service during a liturgy of the word IS considered a valid sacramental wedding – a Mass is not required when two Catholics marry.
Does St. Francis of Assisi have policies regarding the content of the wedding service, the music to be used, etc?
Yes. The content of the service is set forth in the Church’s official Ritual Book for weddings. However, the couple being married is encouraged to engage in helping to plan the wedding service by choosing the Scripture readings that will be used during it. There are certain other options for the service, too, which will be explained to you. St. Francis of Assisi also has standards regarding the music to be used at a wedding. They are set forth in detail in the Wedding Planning Handbook – these are provided to all couples who attend a Wedding Orientation session at St. Francis of Assisi.