Engaged couples who seek marriage within the parish community must contact the Pastor at least six months prior to the anticipated wedding date. Marriage preparation includes a marriage readiness assessment and attendance at Catholic Engaged Encounter. The engaged couple also prepares the wedding ceremony with the priest.
Contact: Fr. Tom Ranzino at 753-7950
SACRAMENTAL MARRIAGE Marriage is a sacred reality for all people. We surround it with celebrations, receptions, parties and ceremonies to remind us of its importance. The Catholic Church recognizes Christian marriage as a sacrament, the joining together of a man and a woman into a community of love called a family. The human love of the couple shares in the very love of God for His Church. Husband and wife confer the Sacrament of Matrimony on one another. In doing this, the two become a source of grace, one for the other. Marriage is a vocation that calls men and women to manifest God’s love, in Christ, to the world in the faithful love they share with each other on a daily basis. Due to the sacredness of marriage and the essential role of husband and wife in actually conferring the sacrament, both should take an active part in the planning as well as in the celebration of the marriage ceremony. These materials were prepared to assist you in planning your wedding and living out your marriage in the Church.
A CHURCH MARRIAGE A Church marriage is not simply a ceremony held in Church. Whether marriage is celebrated within the Church, or witnessed by a priest in another location, or celebrated without a priest with the permission of the Bishop, it is still a “Church Marriage,” recognized by the Church as a sacrament. This means that the whole Church, is witnessing to the marriage, is testifying that we believe this marriage is a sacrament, reflecting the eternal love of God for us, and can be held up as an example to the community of true married love. When the Church witnesses to marriage, the Church is stating that we believe this couple is prepared to love each other as Christ has loved us - for life. The Church witnesses to the commitment of the bride and groom and supports their commitment by prayer and presence.
This is why marriage in our Catholic tradition is usually celebrated in a Church and very frequently within a Mass. The spirit of the Church celebration is a spirit of prayer. The celebration of marriage is a real act of worship and is sacred in nature. The words, the reading, the movement down the aisle, and the gestures (i.e., the giving and receiving of rings) are important dimensions of your wedding. It should be understood that the most important element of your wedding is your own inner disposition of faith towards the celebration of this sacrament.
Occasionally couples may feel they cannot afford a “ Church Marriage.” Over the years music, special attire, attendants and decorations have become associated with the celebration of marriage. All of these may be nice, but they are not essential to a Church marriage. It may be done very inexpensively by eliminating the expensive non-essential elements.
ST. JEAN VIANNEY WEDDING GUIDELINES When a couple marries at St. Jean Vianney, the marriage is witnessed not only by the local congregation, but by the whole Church. While marriage can be a great and beautiful adventure and people enter into marriage with rosy prospects and high hopes, we are faced with the reality that a third of all first marriages celebrated in Louisiana end in divorce within five years. The marriages that end in suffering and pain begin with the same great expectations as those that prove to be joyful and fruitful. It is for this reason that the Church takes seriously its responsibility toward helping persons enter into a marriage that gives promise of being grace filled, happy and permanent. In order to assist in making the best decision possible and help persons prepare properly for the sacrament, the Bishops of Louisiana adopted the following provision on February 8, 1978:
A couple should contact their parish priest at least six months, prior to the anticipated date of their wedding to allow sufficient time to carry out the various steps in the mandatory marriage preparation program.
The parish priest or deacon who witnesses the marriage normally has the responsibility of helping the couple prepare for marriage.
At the first meeting, the priest will explain the marriage preparation program and begin working with the couple to prepare for marriage. During the course of the preparation, he may determine that consultation with the diocesan evaluator is necessary. If after all the preparation, he feels it is necessary to delay the wedding, every attempt will be made to help the couple overcome the specific circumstances that made the delay advisable.
Marriage of persons under eighteen will be given consideration after evaluation and only by the Bishop.
Pregnancy in and of itself will not be considered reason enough to make exceptions regarding the setting of the date for the wedding.
A priest may refuse to witness the marriage of a parishioner for various reason - non practice of the faith, lack of appreciation for the spiritual aspects of marriage, lack of readiness, refusal to participate in required marriage preparation programs.
If the marriage is delayed, or the priest refuses to witness the marriage, appeal may be made to the Bishop directly or through the Dean of the Deanery.
If a couple attempts marriage contrary to the laws of the Church, a validation is permitted only after the couple has completed the above requirements and a period of six months has elapsed since their union outside the Church.
In addition to the above, the following policies must be followed at St. Jean Vianney:
Wedding dates will not be finalized over the phone, but only after BOTH parties have been to see the priest and he has reasonable assurance that the above guidelines will be followed.
When coming to see the priest to schedule a wedding, please bring a recent (within six months) copy of the Baptismal Certificate(s) of the Catholic party(s).
If one of the persons is not a registered parishioner of the parish for one year prior to the wedding, a letter from the person’s pastor stating he or she is a practicing Catholic and giving permission for the wedding to be held here. In the event that a couple is not known to their pastor either, they must bring a letter from their parents, witnessed by the pastor of the parents, stating they are practicing Catholics.