“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (Canon 1055 § 1).
General Preparations for Marriage
All baptised Catholics intending to be married are obliged by the Church to wed in a Catholic church. This being the case, the couple must approach the parish priest at least six months prior to the intended date, as the priest is obliged to determine that the couple are indeed free to marry in the Church and to then settle on a day and time for the ceremony suitable to both himself and the couple. For this reason, it is wise to delay booking reception centres until the necessary paperwork has been completed.
The priest will complete the Church’s Pre-Nuptial Inquiry Form (determining freedom to marry) and the state’s Notice of Intended Marriage (every Catholic priest is a marriage celebrant approved by the Australian Federal Government). To have these forms completed, a birth certificate, and a baptismal certificate signed by the parish priest within the last six months must be provided.
In order to obtain a baptismal certificate, the full name and approximate date of baptism should be sent to the church of baptism, along with a stamped self-addressed envelope.
The couple will be required to undergo an approved seminar of marriage preparation and St Gerard’s recommends those conducted by the Life, Marriage and Family Office at the Cardinal Knox Centre in East Melbourne.
Further information on the paperwork to be submitted and the required marriage seminars can be found at:
Marriage at St Gerard’s
As a rule, only when at least one party is living within the parish boundaries will the couple be allowed to marry at St Gerard’s Church. Catholics living in another parish should marry in one of their own parishes.
Couples already cohabiting will be asked to separate for the remainder of the engagement that they may be properly disposed to receive the sacrament of matrimony.
Where a Nuptial Mass is to be offered, it may be in either the ordinary or extraordinary (Latin) form.
The sanctity of the Nuptial Mass must be observed by both the wedding party and the invited guests. Wedding dresses and bridesmaids gowns must be of a modest design. Guests are asked to respect both the house of God and the couple to be married by maintaining a reverent silence throughout the ceremony. It goes without saying that wolf whistles and other such outbursts are completely out of place in the church.
Sacred music can help the devotion of those present at the Mass. While recorded music is not permitted at St Gerard’s, the parish has a list of organist-singers who can be hired at a reasonable cost. Secular songs of any kind are strictly forbidden during Mass.
If the couple wishes to produce their own booklet for the ceremony, the celebrant will be able to supply a number of electronic templates for this purpose.
By following the above guidelines, the couple will be certain of starting their new life together with God’s blessing upon them.