So, you’ve decided to get married!
The communities of Sacred Heart, Mona Vale and Maria Regina, Avalon, congratulate you on your decision to marry in the Catholic Parish of Pittwater. We believe that in the sacrament of Marriage, God is calling you to mirror His love and fidelity to each other, to your children, family and friends. Other peoples’ lives will be touched by your life together.
And you’re thinking of celebrating it in a Catholic church? Welcome!
We are delighted that you are committed to your faith journey and have chosen to get married in our Catholic church. You have a choice between Maria Regina Church in Avalon or Sacred Heart Church, Mona Vale both of these churches belong to Pittwater Parish.
We would like to help you prepare well for your special day - and for all the days which will follow.
In Australia, the Catholic priest or deacon acts not only as a minister of the Church but also as a registered marriage celebrant for the State. He will help you fill out both the civil and church papers before the wedding. The civil Notice of Intended Marriage must be signed at least one month before the wedding - this takes the place of the ‘marriage licence’ you see in the movies! Of course, you will want to take more time than a month to prepare with the celebrant for your wedding and your marriage.
The Attorney General’s Dept strongly recommends that young couples prepare well for Marriage. So we require you to undertake a course as compulsory preparation for your future married life. Pittwater Parish offers a Marriage Preparation Course: Foccus, a Couple Programme facilitated by an accredited Relationship Educator. This programme is available at Mona Vale by appointment. It uses an in- depth questionnaire to stimulate discussion and enables you to learn more about yourselves and your unique relationship. The process takes about four hours over two separate sessions. This Programme costs $250 per couple. To enrol, simply fill out the registration form (click on the link at the end of this article) including payment, and forward it to the Pittwater Parish Office. You will be contacted as soon as your payment is processed to arrange an appointment.
When you make contact with our parish, the Secretary will arrange the appointment with the Priest and will provide you with information on charges for the use of the church and on local arrangements for music, flowers and photos at the wedding ceremony and a suitable remuneration for the Priest .
For your first meeting you need to bring some documents:
You will need to provide:
Birth Certificate (It is obtainable from the Registrar General - Births, Deaths and Marriages)
Baptismal Certificate (You need a copy less than six months old, obtainable from the parish where you were baptised. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your full name, date of birth and parents’ names.)
Evidence of Death or Annulment if you have been married before.
If other documents are required, the celebrant will inform you.
The Catholic rite of marriage is structured as follows:
1. INTRODUCTORY RITES
After the entrance procession, the minister greets and welcomes the people and prays the opening prayer.
2. LITURGY OF THE WORD
A reading from scripture is followed by the singing of a psalm and the reading of the gospel. An extra reading from scripture may be included. Then in the homily the priest or deacon speaks of marriage.
3. LITURGY OF MARRIAGE
After an introduction and some questions addressed to the couple, they declare their consent to marry. This is followed by the blessing and exchange of rings, and prayers of intercession. If the Liturgy of the Eucharist is not included, the Nuptial Blessing and Lord’s Prayer follow.
4. LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
If the marriage is celebrated during Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist follows. It incorporates the Lord’s Prayer and Nuptial Blessing.
5. CONCLUDING RITES
The priest blesses the couple and the people.
The marriage register is signed.
Many couples prepare their own wedding booklet to help those present participate in the ceremony. The booklet should give the outline of the service showing the component parts, those texts which the whole assembly will sing or say, a brief explanation of the meaning of the rites, and some directions to help the people participate (all stand, sit, etc.). You do not need to print the full text of the readings or of the prayers said by the celebrant.
Liturgical texts, scripture translations and hymns are covered by copyright. You will need to seek permission to print words or music and the copyright owners must be acknowledged in the booklet. The Parish has licences for including the words of a number of hymns and songs in your booklet. The celebrant will be able to assist you in preparing your wedding booklet and should be shown a copy before it is printed.
It is possible to arrange with the celebrant to have a wedding practice in the church a day or two before the ceremony.
Enjoy your wedding in a Catholic church and may God richly bless your married life!