Celebrating the Sacrament of Marriage
Congratulations on your engagement and decision to enter into Catholic marriage! We at the Church of St. Mary will help you in your preparation to ensure that you make this serious and sacred step in your life a holy and happy one.
Spiritual preparation is a key part of this special time. Frequent participation in the sacraments during this time is important, particularly weekly Mass. It is also strongly recommended that you bring yourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this time of preparation. The engagement period can be particularly stressful at times, and the graces bestowed on you through Reconciliation and weekly Mass will be a great source of strength to help keep you focused and at peace. This spiritual direction will foster great growth and maturity for both partners.
The bride and/or groom should be registered member/s of our parish, actively supporting our community as good stewards of their time, talents and treasure. A bride or groom who has moved away but whose family remains registered and supportive of the parish will be given due consideration.
The day and time of the wedding must be arranged in person by the prospective bride and groom as soon as they feel called by God to enter into marriage. No arrangement can be made by phone or with parents. All arrangements should be made at least 9 months prior to the proposed wedding date.
This first meeting with the Pastor may be scheduled by calling the Parish Office (518.449.2232, ext 11).
Please bring to this first meeting:
- for baptized Christians, a recent copy (6 months or less) of baptismal certificate.
- for unbaptized persons, a copy of birth certificate.
Further guidelines for marriage at our parish will be presented at this first meeting. These guidelines are to be used throughout the preparation process between the bride and groom. Some of the issues to be considered are:
- The type of celebration that would be appropriate for the couple
- If the marriage will be celebrated by persons of different religious traditions, it is highly advised that the Rite of Marriage be celebrated outside the context of Mass
- If the marriage will be celebrated by persons regularly practicing our Roman Catholic tradition, it is advised that the Rite of Marriage be celebrated within the context of Mass
- The ongoing process of discernment and decision-making in the coming months
- The engaged persons are encouraged to continue discerning their call to marriage, particularly God’s call that they enter into marriage with one another
- Various options for ceremony prayers will be given to the couple for their reflection and selection (the various Scripture readings can be viewed on this website by scrolling down to the bottom of this page and clicking on the pdf versions below)
- Very often, one or both of the couple require additional formation (possibly some elements of counseling, etc.). Such will be considered and discussed
- The spiritual life of the engaged persons interacting with each other and with God
- Key to this process is the relationship that the bride and the groom continue to establish with themselves and with God. The couple will be exhorted and encouraged to engage not only among themselves, but also within the life of the Catholic parish, various ministries, and prayer & worship (liturgical) opportunities (including, but not limited to, the sacramental life of the Eucharist and reconciliation)
After successfully meeting with the Pastor, and beginning to consider the various guidelines and elements of the formation process for marriage, the bride and groom will schedule a follow-up meeting at which time they will complete individual inventories of their personalities and psychological make-ups. These will greatly assist the formation process for marriage and will form the basis upon which future formation sessions are established.
Once the results of the inventories are produced, the couple is ready to begin a series of formation sessions that will be conducted with them by a married couple from our parish who are trained for such a ministry. Typically, these monthly sessions run throughout the course of five or six months. These sessions are of a confidential nature (between the engaged couple, the formation or mentor couple, and the pastor) and promise to be fruitful when couples enter fully into this process of growth. Once this step is complete, the formation or mentor couple apprises the pastor of the results that flow from their meetings with the engaged couple.
It is also during this time that the engaged couple will want to schedule meetings with the Associate for Liturgy & Music, as well as with the Wedding Coordinator. It has been our experience that these ministers have proven to be of great comfort and benefit to engaged couples as they further approach the celebration of marriage. Both the Associate and the Wedding Coordinator offer very practical help in planning for the various practical details of the wedding ceremony. Incidentally, it is customary to offer a stipend of $200 to the Associate for Liturgy & Music at this time (as well as $75 for a cantor, if requested).
At the conclusion of all of the formation sessions between the engaged couple and the formation or mentor couple, the bride and groom should schedule one final meeting with the pastor, in order to summarize their readiness to enter into marriage. This meeting often includes an encouragement to further grow in the sacramental life of the Church and share that life with others through prayer, service and ministry in the coming months as a newly formed married couple.
- For this meeting, the couple should bring their selections of prayers and readings chosen for their wedding ceremony
At this point, the couple, along with the rest of the wedding party, prepare by rehearsing their ceremony with the Wedding Coordinator and the Associate for Liturgy & Music (typically, this occurs the evening prior to the wedding ceremony). Any issues relative to the ceremony should have already been decided with the Wedding Coordinator prior to this rehearsal. In other words, the Coordinator is the director of the rehearsal (and, for that matter, is the Master of Ceremonies during the actual Rite of Marriage on the wedding day).
- For this rehearsal, the couple must give their marriage license to the Wedding Coordinator
Simply put, this is the celebration of the Rite of Marriage! May this day be one among many yet to come…days of great joy and love; God bless you both.
Readings for the Rite of Marriage
- Old Testament (First) Readings
- New Testament (Second) Readings
- Gospel Readings
- Universal Prayers of the Faithful
If you are already married and wish to do something special for your marriage, consider Marriage Encounter! Visit www.albanyme.org