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1 General information & Questions The following most asked questions and answers (Q & A) may appear to the reader to be legalistic. Please understand that our desire is to assist you in a pastoral way, while communicating in a clear manner every scenario. Do I have to be a parishioner to be married at your parish? Normally, to have a wedding celebrated at Sacred Heart Church or Saint Thomas More Church, either the bride or groom (or both) must be a registered parishioner of that parish in order to be married at their territorial parish. Sometimes those living outside the parish would like to come home for their wedding, and we are certainly happy to accommodate. Please be aware, though, that permission from your territorial Pastor (the parish in which you presently reside) will be necessary. If you currently live outside the Archdiocese of Boston, then the procedures for inter-diocesan marriages need to be followed (the priest, deacon or pastoral associate will help you with this). As you have chosen to be married in the Church, the presumption is that the Catholic party (or parties) (is or are) fully practicing their faith. Our desire is to assist you to attend Mass weekly and fully live the faith that Jesus has given us. What do I need to bring to the first meeting? It is helpful, prior to our first meeting for marriage to have a newly issued original copy of your Sacramental Records (i.e.: Baptism and Confirmation). The parish(es) where the Sacrament(s) occurred will be familiar with the process and will pre-send the records to our parish office. Kindly advise them that the record is for your Marriage paperwork and they will send the correct version of your records. You will need to provide them with (1) your birth date and (2) names of your parents. The parish offices for Sacred Heart and Saint Thomas More are located at: Commercial Street, Weymouth, MA

2 What do I need to do after the first meeting? The Archdiocese of Boston requires a period of formal marriage preparation ( Pre-Cana ). There are many programs available. A list of programs may be found on the Archdiocese of Boston Marriage Ministries website (look up Archdiocese of Boston marriage ). We also offer a Pre-Cana program here at the collaborative; currently there is one at each parish, and by the middle of next year we will have a combined team that meets once a year in the fall. For more information, please call the parish offices or visit our parish websites: & What days and times are available for a wedding? The days and times available for weddings at the church of Sacred Heart or the church of Saint Thomas More are typically: Fridays: Saturdays: Sundays: afternoon or evening 12:00pm, 2:00pm, and 5:30pm 2:00pm to 3:00pm These times are fixed to fit our regular Mass schedule. Please note that it is difficult (if not impossible) to reserve a wedding on a Holy Day of Obligation or civic holiday due to scheduling constraints and Church law restrictions. What does it cost to have a wedding at a Catholic parish? There is no cost for a sacrament; however, you are responsible for reimbursing the parish staff for their professional work and it is customary to make a donation to the parish. The offering made to the parish is $1, Your offering is made to Sacred Heart Parish or St. Thomas More Parish depending on where the marriage takes place. (The money goes to the parish, not to the individual priest.) This includes the hired

3 professional musicians; wedding coordinator; maintenance; heating and cleaning services; and an offering to the parish. A non-refundable deposit of $ is required at your first meeting in order to book your requested date. The balance of your offering and marriage license is due to the parish two weeks prior to the wedding rehearsal. (Non-registered parishioners who are requesting the space for their wedding are required to make the regular offering, plus an additional offering of $ , for a total of $ 1,500.00). Parishioners may have the church donation amount reduced in proportion to the amount spent on the wedding. Parishioners who regularly use envelopes/electronic giving are eligible to apply for financial assistance with the donation portion. Both groups are responsible to reimburse our professional fees. Can another priest relative or friend or non-catholic clergy officiate or be present at my wedding? If you have a relative or friend who is a Catholic priest or deacon, and you would like him to celebrate, concelebrate, or witness your marriage, we would be most happy to accommodate him, so long as he has made arrangements with the Pastor at least two months ahead of time. If the priest or deacon is from outside the Archdiocese of Boston, he must also contact the Archdiocese of Boston Office of Canonical Affairs to obtain the necessary permissions and faculties (this is a requirement of Church Law). Kindly remind him to do this at least two months prior to the wedding day, otherwise he would not be allowed to preside or assist at the Mass or Ceremony. The Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also requires that out-of-state clergy obtain permission to witness marriage vows. Please consult the following website for more information:

4 If either the bride or groom is not Catholic and wishes to invite clergy of another faith to be present, we would welcome them too. Please understand that this must be discussed with the Pastor well in advance of the wedding day. NB: Please note that non-catholic clergy may not preside at the liturgy or preach; however, they may offer a reading from Sacred Scripture and be present to support you with his/her prayers and of course, we would welcome them. How do I get a marriage license? The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires a wedding license. You must go to the city or town clerk s office and complete an application for a wedding license and fulfill any and all civil requirements for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This license needs to be given to the priest or deacon at least before the wedding rehearsal. In Massachusetts, without the wedding license the priest cannot witness your marriage. Please note: The marriage license is not valid for the first 3 days after its being issued; after that, it is good for 60 days. After the wedding, the parish office will mail you a record of your marriage for your records. Couples traveling abroad and those needing an immediate change of name documentation may need a copy of the legal record for this purpose. Please note that the legal record of marriage comes from the city/town where you applied for the marriage license. You would need to make arrangements through the clerk s office of that particular city/town to assist with this need.

5 How do I plan the ceremony or Mass? Liturgy (ceremony) planning The priest, deacon or pastoral associate preparing you for marriage will work with you both and complete your worship aide (program); choosing the readings, music and prayers for your wedding. We welcome family and friends to participate in the wedding liturgy as a reader, gift bearer and/or altar servers. (Please avoid asking those without previous experience to serve in a liturgical role as reader.) They may also serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion if they serve and are appointed in this capacity from their own Catholic parish communities. Please understand that the use of extra ordinary ministers of Holy Communion is dependent on the pastoral need for them at Mass. (Please make arrangements with the priest celebrant during the wedding preparation period as it concerns this request). How do I plan music? After you have met with the priest, kindly contact the Music Director to plan the music for your wedding. Her contact information is as follows: Mary Beth Brady: Phone #: (781) NB: All musical selections must be approved by the Music Director and Pastor. (Please understand that our professional musicians rehearse and plan for your liturgy, and are unable to receive any

6 unscheduled and unrehearsed changes.) As with all liturgical celebrations, music must be liturgical and express Catholic faith (It is not permissible to have secular music or pre-recorded music in the context of The Sacred Liturgy). If my family or friends are trained liturgical musicians, can they assist at the Mass or ceremony? We welcome non-parish, outside musicians or family member to sing at the wedding, but please understand that they, too, must be approved ahead of time by the Music Director and Pastor. (Please contact the Music Director directly if you have questions or special requests.) Please understand that, though a person may be an accomplished musician, this does not mean that they are prepared to sing in a liturgical celebration. Therefore, when such permission is granted, the parish cantor (singer) and organist/pianist must also be present. Can we design a wedding program for our liturgy? Many couples have a wedding program to assist their guests. Though Wedding programs are optional, the Music Director would be happy to help you put one together, if you would like. (We have samples on-line.) Our Music Director and priest celebrant will review your worship aid (program) prior to printing to assist you and assure that nothing is missed. How do we arrange flowers, photographer and other special requests? Flowers and photographers

7 You are most welcome to bring flowers. However, the church s decorations, banners, altar cloths, etc., may not be moved or removed. Please note that during the season of Lent & Advent, the decorations in the church will be minimal according to the liturgical norms. You may provide flowers for the sanctuary (the raised wooden or tiled platform where the altar stands) when it is not already decorated for a particular season (i.e.: Christmas and Easter). Please have your florist contact the parish staff to make arrangements for delivery and setup. Please note that flowers may not be placed upon the altar. With regard to photography, we advise that you find a professional photographer that you are comfortable with who has experience with religious weddings. We ask that family guests (amateur photographers) are asked not to leave the pews during the celebration so that your professional is able to memorialize your wedding. We ask that the photographer/videographer speak to the priest before the ceremony. Please note that a videographer may use only natural light. How do I plan a Rehearsal Date for the Wedding? After you have met with the priest, kindly contact the coordinator for wedding rehearsal and assistance to bridal party at the wedding, to reserve a time for your wedding rehearsal. She will arrange one of our staff to be assigned to your wedding and rehearsal. Her contact information is as follows: Noreen Shea

8 address: Phone #: (781) Please remember to bring to your rehearsal the following: Wedding Party (those in the program) Wedding Program (you will have already reviewed this with the priest (or deacon) celebrant and music director prior to printing). Note- Typically rehearsals are conducted on the Thursday or Friday evening prior to the wedding day. Reminder, rehearsals are assigned and coordinated through the coordinator. We also remind our bridal party to please be on time for your rehearsal and wedding, especially since there are other parish events scheduled before and after your wedding celebration. (It will not only affect them, but your wedding.) Sometimes due to traffic, accident or unseen factors the bridal party is not on time and this delay effects the next Mass or wedding arriving. Please understand that we cannot guarantee that a Mass can take place if your delay would impinge on another scheduled liturgy: Wedding or Weekend Mass. Can we have an aisle runner or a wedding candle in church? Unfortunately, white runners/carpets are not safe or compatible with our space; for this reason, we are unable to permit their use. While some weddings celebrate by having rice, birdseed, balloons, bubbles, flower petals, confetti, butterflies, birds, etc. at the doors of the church or inside a building, please understand that they

9 are not permitted inside or outside of Sacred Heart Church or St. Thomas More Church. There is a recent practice in some churches to have a unity candle. This tradition actually comes from some of our other church communities. It actually is not a part of the Catholic rite of Holy Matrimony (Marriage). Many have seen them used at other churches, but their use is not permitted. We encourage and have found that many couples incorporate their use at the reception. This is a nice transition. A wonderful way to begin your gathering would be to offer the lighting of candles along with a blessing for the meal. Final note: Should you have the need to make any changes to the ceremony, or if you should decide to postpone or cancel your wedding, please notify the parish offices as soon as possible. Thank you. ********* It is important to note, that by booking your wedding at Sacred Heart Parish and Saint Thomas More Parish, each couple accepts the rules and regulations spelled out in the guide and the Norms for celebrating a Nuptial Mass and the Rite of Marriage for the Catholic Church. As previously noted we reserve the right to simplify or change a Wedding Mass into a Wedding Ceremony and simply a ceremony should the bridal party not be on time to begin as scheduled. This is necessary in order that our Mass schedule continues and cares for the other parishioners or weddings arriving. We hope this information has been helpful. Please know that you are in our prayers as you prepare for this important moment. May our Lord continue the good work he has begun in you and bring it to completion. May Christ s abundant blessings come down upon you as you prepare to give yourselves to Him and to each other in mutual and lasting fidelity.

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