Congratulations on your recent engagement! We at Saint Louis Gonzaga Maronite Catholic Church are very happy for you as you begin preparations for your special wedding day. As you prepare yourselves for the wedding, prepare yourselves also for the marriage. Marriage is one of the most important commitments that you will make during your lives. As you begin this journey of life together, renew your commitment to God and the Church. We, your parish family, are here to support you not only for the wedding, but for your entire married life. We hope that the information enclosed in this packet will answer many of your questions and anticipate some of your concerns. Blessings, Chorbishop John D. Faris
Timeline for Marriage Preparation
At least 6 months before your planned date, contact Saint Louis Gonzaga Church for an appointment with a priest. The priest will schedule a date that is convenient for you and the parish and discuss the preparations which will include a Pre-Cana Conference and three meetings with the priest prior to the wedding.
Do not make a deposit on a venue (social hall) before the date is confirmed in the parish calendar.
You will be asked to participate in three marriage preparation sessions with the priest prior to the wedding.
PARTICIPATION IN THE DIVINE LITURGY
Since you are preparing yourself to receive the sacrament of marriage from the Church, you should commit yourself to regular attendance at the Divine Liturgy.
Obtain your marriage license within 60 days prior to the wedding date.
Bring it with you to the rehearsal. The priest cannot perform the wedding ceremony without it.
Please be punctual for the rehearsal. All participants in the ceremony should attend. Bring wedding programs to the rehearsal.
SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION
Prior to the wedding, Catholics should receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Preparation for Marriage
If you have a possible date for your wedding, please call the rectory to arrange a meeting with the pastor.
Weddings cannot be celebrated during Lent, Holy Week, Easter or Christmas. Weddings during the Lenten season are not celebrated under any circumstances.
Ordinarily weddings are celebrated on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. In exceptional cases, other times that are mutually convenient for the parish and the parties can be celebrated.
Rehearsals for weddings that take place on Saturday will be scheduled on Friday evenings. e allotted time for your rehearsal is one (1) hour. We request that you and your party be on-time; otherwise your rehearsal time will be diminished.
The pastor will meet with you in order to begin your formal preparation and will walk you through some required diocesan paperwork requested by the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn.
Be aware that you should submit a copy of each person’s baptismal certificates, issued by the church of baptism within 6 months of beginning your preparation for marriage. e copy must have the raised seal of the church.
Pre-Cana preparation is required for Catholic marriages. Information on dates, times and locations of Pre-Cana Conferences will be available from the pastor.
Planning Your Wedding Ceremony
Planning the Ceremony
The wedding can be celebrated with or without the celebration of the Eucharist.
Sacred music is required at at wedding service. Sacred Music enhances the spiritual significance of the covenant and commitment and encourages the prayerful participation of family and friends in the liturgy. Music with secular lyrics is not permitted. The parish music director will assist you in the planning of the prelude, communion, and postlude music. You are responsible for contacting the music director at Saint Louis Gonzaga Church to coordinate.
We encourage you to invite family or friends to participate as readers within the liturgy. We recommend that they attend the rehearsal to familiarize themselves with the microphone, the lectionary, and the layout of the sanctuary.
Visiting priests or deacons are welcome to participate in your wedding. A letter of “suitability of ministry” is required if they wish to concelebrate. They must request permission from the pastor.
We ask couples to keep their flowers and decorations tasteful and simple to keep the focus on the sacrament. Flowers may be delivered on your wedding day one hour before the ceremony begins. Inside this packet is a guide for you and your florist, outlining some of our policies. Please give a copy of this guide to your florist when you make your arrangements.
Photography and Videography
We welcome photographers and/or videographers, as they are a part of any wedding. Inside this packet is a guide for you and your photographer, outlining some of our policies on still and video photography. Please give a copy of this guide to your photographer/videographer when you make your arrangements.
Wedding Day Policies
The bride and her attendants should arrive dressed, as should the groom and groomsmen. The bride and her atten- dants can go to the social hall downstairs. The groom and groomsmen can go to the parish house.
RICE, BIRD SEED, FLOWER PETALS, OR CONFETTI
Please ask your guests not to throw any of these items or release balloons, butterflies or doves as they leave church.
It is important that the wedding start
on time. Besides the risk of running into other scheduled masses or events, it could preclude you from having time for photographs in the church after the ceremony.
A recently-issued certificate of baptism bearing the raised seal of the church must be obtained from the church in which you were baptized. is can be accomplished by calling or writing to the parish of record.
PRIOR MARRIAGE DOCUMENTATION
If either party has previously been married, the necessary documents must be obtained to determine one’s freedom to marry in the Church.
Official church forms, which must be filled out and signed in the presence of the priest, will be explained and provided by the ordained minister who is directing your marriage preparation.
MARRIAGE PREPARATION CERTIFICATE
A certificate indicating that you have completed a marriage Pre-Cana program should be given to the priest who is preparing you for marriage.
e priest is not permitted to perform the ceremony without the marriage license in hand. It should be issued by the State of New York. Bring it with you to the rehearsal.