Dear Engaged Couple,
Congratulations on your decision to marry. We are happy that you will exchange your vows in our parish.
Weddings are special, joyful times for couples, for their families and friends, and for the parish community. The Church welcomes you to celebrate your marriage in a setting in which you are accustomed to worship as Catholics. For us, as believing Catholics, matrimony is a sacrament, a visible sign of God’s invisible blessings and of the Lord’s presence in our lives.
Great care is taken to see that the prayers for this special moment are reverent, graceful, and open to the movement of God’s spirit among us. Whenever sacraments are celebrated, an important place is given to the Scriptures so that we can be nourished and strengthened by God’s Word. We celebrate the sacraments as a community and invite our brothers and sisters to join us and ask for their prayerful support. The presence of our relatives and friends allows us to celebrate with joy and thanksgiving.
Since we are celebrating the Sacrament of Matrimony and not simply “having a wedding,” St. Anthony Parish provides the following guidelines for celebrating that special moment in your lives.
It is presumed that at least one member of the engaged couple is a practicing Catholic and a registered parishioner of St. Anthony Parish. A practicing Catholic is a person who believes in and lives by the tenets of the Catholic faith, i.e., attends Mass each week and frequently receives the Sacrament of Penance.
The Guidelines for the Archdiocese of Boston regarding marriage require that those wishing to marry should notify the parish priest at least six months prior the wedding date.
The couple planning to marry should expect to meet with either the priest or deacon to complete the necessary forms and to make preparations for the actual celebration itself.
The couple will be required to take part in a Marriage Preparation Program, either one recommended by or approved of by St. Anthony Parish.
There are many couples who are not members of our parish or diocese. We are happy to accommodate those couples when possible. A letter of permission from the pastors of parishes other than our own must be presented with the paperwork is initiated.
Recently issued copies (within six months) of the Baptismal and Confirmation records for the Catholic couple or individual must be brought to the first consultation with the priest or deacon. The copies of the certificates may be obtained from the parishes where the sacraments were administered. Non-Catholics who are baptized are also asked to bring a copy of their Baptismal or Christening record.
Matrimony is a Sacrament; therefore the Catholic couple should plan to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) shortly before the marriage day.
SPECIFIC TOPICS OF INFORMATION
It is necessary that you arrange for your music ministers as soon as you have set your wedding date with the parish priest. Our organist, Kathleen Keyes (781-545-5058) will assist you in your selection of music for your wedding. Music selections must be made according to the Archdiocesan Guidelines which simply put are “Church music in church, and non-church music elsewhere.”
You may request that the music be provided by musicians not of our parish. In this latter case, all arrangements must be made through Mrs. Keyes. All financial arrangements between you and the music minister(s) are to be handled directly and not through the arranging priest. The diocesan policy requires that the parish organist be used. If a different organist is used, the usual compensation must be made to the parish organist.
TIME OF CELEBRATION
Weddings are scheduled on Saturdays between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM, but always two hours apart. A Saturday evening wedding can be arranged at 6:15 PM. These times are restricted since Confessions are heard at 4:00 PM, and there is a Parish Mass at 5:00 PM on Saturday. Sunday weddings can be arranged after 2:00 PM.
THROWING OF RICE OR ROSE PETALS
We ask that you kindly inform your guests to refrain from throwing rice, confetti or anything else. It is forbidden to throw rose petals inside the church.
FLOWERS AND DECORATIONS
You may wish to provide flowers for the sanctuary for your wedding. Two floral bouquets are sufficient. Flowers may be taken from the church following the wedding if you so desire. If there is more than one wedding on a given day, you will be given the name of the other party so that you can coordinate the arranging of flowers is you wish, thereby eliminating unnecessary expense and duplication of floral arrangements.
A runner for the church is not allowed under any circumstances. Bows, etc. on pew ends are allowed but must be fastened by ribbon or clamps, sticky material, is forbidden. It is necessary that you inform your florist of this rule to avoid any embarrassment.
Most couples like to have a remembrance of their wedding ceremony. However, we make every effort to make sure that your wedding ceremony is in every way possible a spiritual experience of faith. To that end, the photographer or videographer must not move once the ceremony has begun. Under no circumstances are they to be beyond the designated sanctuary area.
OTHER PRIESTS AND MINISTERS
If you have a relative or close friend who is a priest or deacon and you would like to have him witness your marriage, you are most welcome to do so. Please discuss this with the parish priest so that the necessary permissions, both legal and ecclesiastical, can be obtained.
If one of the parties is a member of a Protestant Church, his or her minister is most welcome to be a participant in the wedding ceremony. Particulars can be worked out with the priest arranging the wedding ceremony.
OFFERING TO THE CHURCH
It is customary to offer a donation to the church on the occasion of the celebration of marriage. The suggested donation for those who are registered and participating members of St. Anthony Parish is $375.00. The donation for non-parishioners is $675.00. The donation must be brought to the rehearsal along with the license.
PLANNING YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY
At the first meeting with the priest or deacon, please bring a copy of your Baptism and Confirmation Certificates. If you do not have them, please contact the church where you received these sacraments and have them send the records to you.
On the night of rehearsal, please bring the following:
License – You must obtain a license issued by any town or city in Massachusetts within 30 days of your wedding.
Selection Form – You will receive a booklet with all of the options for your wedding ceremony, i.e. reading, prayers, etc. The inside of the back cover contains a pull-out sheet called a “selection form.” After carefully making your selection, fill out the form and bring it to the rehearsal.
St. Anthony Parish—The offering for the church.
Altar Servers—A customary tip of $20.00 each is sufficient.
A time for the rehearsal will be mutually agreed upon with the priest. Please arrive on time out of consideration for both the priest and the other wedding parties who might be scheduled for that weekend. There are two options in regard to the procession:
Traditional procession: Ushers as a group two by two, bridesmaids in a single line, flower girl and ring bearer, maid of honor, bride with father.
Family procession: Ushers and bridesmaids two by two, flower girl and ring bearer, maid of honor, bride with parents.
Note: Little children, i.e., under the age of five are to be discouraged from being in the wedding procession.
One best man and one maid (matron) of honor only.
For Catholics: Catholics fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when they receive Holy Communion in fulfillment of Christ’s command. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, communicants should not be conscious of grave sin, have fasted for an hour, and seek to live in charity and love with their neighbors. Persons conscious of grave sin must first be reconciled with God and the Church through the Sacrament of Penance.
For other Christians: We welcome to this celebration of the Eucharist those Christians who are not fully united with us. It is a consequence of the sad divisions of Christianity that we cannot extend to them a general invitation to receive Communion. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is an action of the celebrating community and is the real body and blood of Christ signifying a oneness in faith, life, and worship of the community. Reception of the Eucharist by Christians not fully united with us would imply a oneness which does not yet exist and for which we must all pray.
AFTER THE WEDDING
Following the wedding, the license is returned to the city/town hall from which it was obtained. Should you need a copy of the marriage certificate, one may be obtained from the Rectory.
Register in your parish as soon as possible after your wedding. You are now a new family, and it will be your responsibility to register in the parish where you will be living, whether it is at St. Anthony Parish or elsewhere. As a Catholic family, you receive a call and a challenge. “The laity are gathered together in the People of God and make up the Body of Christ under one Head…. They are called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church and its continuous sanctification.” (Dogmatic Constitution of the Church.)
We congratulate you on your upcoming marriage. Please remember the sacredness of marriage. Besides being a very meaningful social occasion for you and your families, it is a profoundly sacred event, as you are receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. By your marriage in the Church, you are making a public statement of your faith and your fidelity to each other and to Christ, within the community of the Church. Please take the time before your marriage to prepare yourselves spiritually for life together, as married people in the Church.