The Sacrament of Marriage
The marriage covenant prefigures the new and everlasting covenant between the son of God and all mankind.
Through this sacrament, Christians signify and share in the mystery of the unity and fruitful love that exists between Christ and his church. Christian couples are to strive to nourish and develop their marriage by undivided affection in good times and in bad.
For every Catholic couple seeking the key to living a happy and holy married life, visit For Your Marriage – the perfect resources for living happily ever after. The site was launched by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Marriage and Family Life.
Find daily marriage tips, quizzes, blogs, facts and figures, “must have conversations,” a personality audit, personal stories, the biblical roots of marriage, prayers, church documents, and information about marital sexuality and spirituality.
This time of engagement will be special for you and your fiancé as you prepare to celebrate your marriage to each other in Christ. It is our desire to help you make this time a more meaningful religious experience.
The wedding day is a time of rejoicing, not only for you, but also for your families and friends and for the parish family of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. We look forward to celebrating with you.
A wedding day is only 24 hours, while a marriage is a lifetime. Our time of preparation together will hopefully prepare you not only for your wedding day but be the beginning of a wonderful and holy marriage.
It is in this spirit that Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish provides these guidelines as an aid to both of you as you make the necessary preparations for this special day and your marriage.
We will be keeping you in our prayers as you prepare for your life together.
We require at least a six (6) month notice so that we can help you prepare for your marriage.
|Table of Contents|
|Details of the Celebration|
|Suggestions and Rules|
Normally, weddings are celebrated in the parish of either the bride or the groom. A wedding date will be confirmed on the parish calendar only after a parish priest has spoken with the engaged couple and determined the couple’s freedom to marry. Please contact Sister Jeanne Marie Vonder Haar to begin the process. Sister Jeanne Marie will forward your initial information to one of our priests or deacon to schedule an initial interview. Following that interview, your wedding date will be scheduled. No commitments should be made with caterers, reception halls, etc. until the date is confirmed.
Weddings must be scheduled at least six (6) months prior to the ceremony.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, the bride and groom are the ministers of the sacrament of marriage with the priest, best man and maid/matron of honor as the witnesses. The priests and deacon at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish are available to preside at the weddings of registered parishioners or children of registered parishioners at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish. If there is a desire to have a priest, other than one currently assigned to the Cathedral Parish, preside at the liturgy this request should be made at the time of the scheduling. However, this particular preference is not a guarantee.
Weddings are usually scheduled for Saturdays between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Only one wedding a day is allowed. Weddings can also be scheduled for other days of the week (as long as there is no other event scheduled in the church). Evening weddings usually begin after 6:00 p.m. or before 8:00 p.m.
Weddings are not celebrated on Sundays, on Holy Days of Obligation and usually not during the seasons of Lent and Advent. If a marriage is celebrated during Lent, flowers are not permitted in the church and the music must reflect the solemn nature of the season. If a marriage is celebrated during Advent the church should be decorated in a moderate manner, without anticipating the full joy of Christmas. The music should be of the same nature.
Expectations for Visiting Priests
- After notifying the priest or deacon at the initial interview, the couple should contact the priest to ask him to celebrate their wedding. The parish will then mail the visiting priest a form to be returned to the office.
- Delegation must be granted by the Rector to have a visiting priest preside at a wedding at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish.
- Visiting priests are expected to follow all parish guidelines for the celebration of the wedding liturgy.
- Visiting priests are also expected to have a letter of good standing from their Ordinary or Religious Superior in order to witness a wedding in the Diocese of Greensburg.
- Visiting priests are also required to complete all of the necessary paperwork and marriage preparation with the couple. Notification of the completion of this paperwork should be forwarded to the staff at the Cathedral.
- The priests of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish will not travel to other locations to perform marriages for parishioners of the Cathedral
All necessary interviews and paperwork must be completed no later than 2 months prior to the wedding. If the couple preparing for marriage lives outside of the Diocese of Greensburg, the couple should complete their paperwork in the diocese of their current residence. Therefore, it is not the responsibility of the Cathedral Parish to complete the paperwork. However, the parish must be assured that the paperwork has been completed in the proper time.
- All baptized persons must present a recent copy of their baptismal record issued within 6 months of their marriage date. Contact the church of your baptism to have this copy forwarded to Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.
- The interviews and accompanying paperwork will be completed by the priest presiding at the liturgy.
- Engaged couples who are not members of this parish must have permission from their local pastor for the marriage to take place at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.
- A marriage license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must be obtained and should be received by the Parish Office at least 10 days prior to the wedding date. Marriage licenses can be obtained from any county courthouse but are not available until 60 days prior to the wedding date (i.e., the marriage license for a May 24 wedding can be obtained after March 24).
Couples are to take an active part in the preparation of the marriage ceremony. You will be invited to work together with the priest in the planning of the wedding ceremony. In preparation for the wedding ceremony and marriage, the Catholic party (or parties) is reminded that weekly Sunday Mass attendance is a requirement of our Catholic faith and is an important preparation for the sacrament of matrimony.
The initial part of the marriage preparation process is a meeting with one of the priests of the parish. Every couple should meet with the priest assigned to their wedding at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish at least six months to a year before their wedding date. This meeting will determine freedom to marry and review the whole marriage preparation process. Following this, the couple will complete the FOCUS Survey and will review the results with Sister Jeanne Marie Vonder Haar. Then the couple is required to complete a marriage preparation program noted below.
Special note: No couple needing a decree of nullity or an annulment will be started in the marriage preparation process or given a marriage date until this circumstance is resolved. During these meetings with the priest, official paperwork will be completed, various aspects of marriage will be discussed and the wedding ceremony will be reviewed.
The Diocese of Greensburg requires that all couples preparing for marriage participate in some form of marriage preparation program. There are various programs available.
Please review the options listed below with the parish priest to decide which option best suits you.
|Sponsor Couples Sponsor Couples involve one married mentor couple and one engaged couple. The engaged couple meets with the married couple over the course of a few evenings that are scheduled at the convenience of those involved. The Director of Faith Formation will arrange for the sponsor couple if this option is selected. The couples meet in four two-hour meetings usually taking place over a two to three month period. No out-of-diocese couples will be assigned to the sponsor couple mentoring process. Out-of-diocese couples should seek training in the parish/diocese in which they reside. Please refer to the section below on “Out of Diocese preparation.”|
|Engaged Encounter |
Engaged Encounter is a weekend program that usually begins on a Friday evening and ends Sunday afternoon .This program takes place in Greensburg and in many other areas of the country. It is led by two or more married couples, with up to 20 engaged couples in attendance. Weekends are listed on a brochure that the parish will provide for you. There is a fee for this option paid to the location where the weekend is held.
|Out of Diocese Preparation |
All Catholic Dioceses and many Catholic parishes offer marriage preparation programs that are accepted by the Diocese of Greensburg. In some instances one or both of the engaged live outside of the Diocese of Greensburg. If one member of the engaged couple lives locally the marriage preparation can take place at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish. However, if both members of the engaged couple reside outside the Diocese of Greensburg it is expected that they will arrange for marriage preparation in either the parish or the diocese where either resides. Any approved parish or diocesan program is acceptable. Proof of participation in the marriage preparation program should be provided to the Rector of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish.
Details of the Celebration
- Many customs and traditions have been introduced into the wedding ceremony which are not a part of the Roman Rite.
- Unity Candle: The unity candle is not a part of the Liturgy of the Catholic Church and is not permitted to be used at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish Church.
- A wedding runner or “crash” is not permitted to be used.
- The distribution of rice, flower petals, sparkles, confetti, bird seed, balloons, butterflies, birds, etc., on Cathedral property is not permitted. Bubbles may be used outside of the church only.
- Presentation of Flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary: Private devotions are normally celebrated outside of Mass. If both parties hold a special devotion to Mary, however, the presentation of flowers may be considered. The statue of Mary in Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish is located in the North transept of the main body of the church.
Flowers and Decorations
Flowers for the sanctuary may be provided by the couple. Two floral arrangements will be placed on stands in the sanctuary and will remain in the sanctuary for the weekend Masses. The Cathedral will provide the two stands. No other flowers are permitted on the altar or in the sanctuary. Couples celebrating their wedding during the Christmas or Easter Seasons will not be permitted to use additional flowers unless this possibility is discussed with the Cathedral Staff. Only freshly cut flowers and greens may be used within the church. Artificial flowers and greens are never permitted.
Bows or Pew Decorations may be used on the pew ends and attached with string or elastic. Candles, tape and glue may not be used on the pews. No tape, nails or pins of any kind are permitted.
Seasonal decorations in the Cathedral may not be altered.
Download the Worship Environment and Floral Arrangements Guidelines
Choosing the Ceremony
If both of you are Roman Catholic, the church expects the wedding to be held within the celebration of the Mass.
The Eucharist is a sign of unity. Both families are able to receive communion, as would all Catholics at the ceremony.
If you do not share the same faith, it is required that the wedding ceremony be celebrated according to the Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass.
The Order of Celebration Rite of Marriage within Mass
When the Rite of Marriage is celebrated outside of Mass, the italicized sections are omitted. (See below)
| Entrance Rites |
Liturgy of the Word
Rite of Marriage
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Suggestions and Rules
Children in the Wedding
It is strongly recommended that children must be at least 7 years of age in order to participate in the wedding party. For your own benefit, and from experience, we discourage the use of younger children in the wedding party.
Alcoholic beverages, drugs or firearms.
Alcoholic beverages, drugs and firearms are not permitted anywhere on Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish Church property. Their use/presence is entirely inappropriate. It is the responsibility of the couple to inform the wedding party, family members, friends and the limousine service of this restriction. The Cathedral campus is a smoke-free environment. Please observe this no-smoking policy.
Blessed Sacrament Cathedral has a room where brides may prepare for the wedding ceremony.
This room is located in the Cathedral Hall adjacent to the ladies restroom. This room will be open approximately one hour prior to the wedding. Also, the wedding party will have access to the far end of the church hall of the Cathedral Hall closest to the bride’s room one hour prior to the wedding; this can be arranged with the wedding coordinator. Following the liturgy, please remove all hangers, garment bags, flowers, boxes, etc. Blessed Sacrament Cathedral and the Diocese of Greensburg assume no liability for any and all items left in the dressing room, church or hall at any time.
Photographs and Video
The taking of pictures and videos in the church during the ceremony is permitted as long as the photographer and or videographer respect the sacredness of the ceremony and do not disturb the prayerful movement of the liturgy. Special areas are designated for the photographer and videographer. The parish wedding coordinator will supervise this aspect of the wedding.
There is a two-hour time limit from the scheduled start of the wedding in which the wedding party must be out of the church (i.e., for a 2 p.m. wedding, the wedding party must be out of the church by 4 p.m.).
Should you contract a limousine to transport you to the Church, please be aware of the following rules that are non-negotiable:
- Limousines may park in the street directly in front of the Cathedral, or in the Aquinas parking lot, or the Greensburg Salem parking lot across the street.
- Limousines are under no circumstances to park in the small parking lot attached to the Church. This lot is designated to for guests and/or handicapped parking. It is not permitted to enter this space for any reason, including drop off.
- Limousines are under no circumstances to park in the drive leading to the private space.
The couple must meet with the Director of Liturgy and Music, J. Christopher Pardini, to finalize the choice of music, Scripture readings and other details of the wedding liturgy. The appropriate time frame for the meeting is between six months to one month prior to the wedding date. Please contact Mr. Pardini at 724-834-3710 ext. 21 to schedule an appointment. Only the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish organist or his designate is to play the organ for weddings at the Cathedral church. Other instrumentalists and vocalists are able to participate in the Wedding Liturgy once approved by the Director of Music Ministry.
All music used for the ceremony must be approved. Secular music such as popular songs, Broadway tunes and love ballads are not permitted as part of the wedding liturgy.
A Catholic wedding is a liturgical celebration and therefore a communal event. The guests are present not as spectators, but as worshippers. They should be drawn into active participation through prayer and song, so that they may share fully in the sacramental encounter with Christ the Lord. If present, the cantor will lead the assembly in song.
Musical texts must always be consistent with Catholic teaching; indeed they should be drawn chiefly from holy Scripture and from liturgical sources. The use of pre-recorded music is not permitted during the liturgy.
Music which promotes performance over participation is not permitted. The music selected must express the prayer of the Church. Individual preference is not, of itself, a sufficient principle for the choice of music in the Liturgy.
The Wedding rehearsal is usually scheduled for the evening before the wedding between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. All participating in the ceremony must attend. The couple is to remind their wedding party that proper dress and conduct is required at the rehearsal. Rehearsals will begin on time as there may be other events scheduled in the church. The presider and wedding coordinator may also have other events scheduled following your rehearsal. The sacrament of reconciliation will be offered immediately following the rehearsal for all Catholics in the wedding party.
Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish provides a wedding coordinator to help with various aspects of the wedding liturgy. The wedding coordinator will contact the couple the week prior to the wedding to finalize details and will attend the rehearsal and wedding to assist the wedding party and priest.
Two altar servers will be provided by the parish unless you notify us otherwise.
All Wedding dates accepted on and after February 1, 2023, and all Wedding dates scheduled for the 2024 calendar year, are subject to the follow fee structure:
- $700.00 for parishioners
- $1250.00 for non-parishioners
A parishioner is defined as: someone who is currently registered at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish or the child of someone who is currently registered at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish. Membership will be determined at your initial meeting with the priest or deacon.
This stipend covers:
- clergy stipend
- organist stipend
- cantor stipend
- stipend for servers and wedding coordinator
- copyright license
- custodial care
Please note: If the couple brings in an outside priest, or hires an instrumentalist, they are still responsible for the stipend as well as any expenses they incur for these other ministers.
The stipend must be dropped off 2 weeks prior to the wedding.
The sacrament of marriage is an important event in the life of the church. The entire worshipping community has an interest in your wedding. Couples need to remember that their wedding is not a private event; rather it belongs to the entire church community.
Prayer should be an important part of your preparation, and entering into this sacrament should help you grow closer to one another and to God.
Enjoy the days and months of preparation ahead (both for the wedding ceremony and for the marriage). They should be happy and exciting times.
We ask the Lord to bless you and guide you. Remember, it takes three to wed (and remain) married: the bride, the groom and God.