It's Wedding Bell Time
When a couple begins to talk together about a date for their wedding
celebration there are many things to consider and discuss. It is hoped that they
have set the date far enough in advance (usually a year) so that the
preparations can take place in a calm manner. Their ceremony will last under an
hour, their marriage will last a lifetime. During the time of preparation and
discernment, the couple are offered ways to deepen their commitment. The time of
engagement is indeed a special gift and meant to add joy and blessing, not
stress and anxiety.
Fr. Paul Turner has written a book to help the presider as well as the couple
prepare for the ceremony in a way that will prepare them for their life-long
marriage. Preparing the
Wedding Homily: A Guide for Preachers and Couples contains workbook
pages for the couple and includes a worksheet for homily preparation by the
presider. It is designed for collaboration between the couple and the presider
to develop understanding and meaning for the ceremony and for their life
Some parishes provide a written policy to every couple getting married so
that they can understand the details of the preparation that is necessary. The
policy should answer the questions that are asked with any wedding. Every
couple, for example, is required to enter into a pre-marriage process to help
the couple come to grips with the communication skills essential for a sound
relationship. Specific policies may vary with each diocese.
If there are questions to answer regarding church norms surrounding weddings,
a great little resource book to have at hand is The Catholic Wedding
Answer Book: ML Answers the 101 Most-Asked Questions, also by Fr.
Paul Turner. This presents the answers to questions about weddings that parish
staff members want to have at their fingertips. Anyone who deals with couples
preparing for a wedding will find this a God-send. No need to look up the rules
in the church documents. The research has already been done and is presented in
an easily understood manner.
Many parishes select a date when they bless
all the married couples of the parish. The Book of Blessings contains
specific blessingsMinistry Resource Update for June 2011 that can be used during
liturgy or as part of a Liturgy of the Word service. Frequently the date
selected is in February for World Marriage Day, which happens to be near
Valentine’s Day. Many Dioceses invite married couples, especially those with
notable anniversaries to come to the cathedral for a special Mass and blessing.
The married couples of the parish provide a beautiful example of this
wonderful commitment to faithful love for those who are preparing for this
sacrament. All the parishioners can be invited to pray that those long time
married couples as well as the young newlyweds always have the grace to live out
Please send me suggestions from
your parish practices, and I’ll include them in next month’s Ministry
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