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Marriage Guidelines

Preparation for the celebration of the wedding liturgy

Scheduling Your Wedding at Holy Trinity

Weddings must be scheduled at least six months before the ceremony.  A wedding date can only be tentatively scheduled with the wedding facilities coordinator.  Because of increased demand to use our new church, early reservation is recommended, especially for parishioners.  Weddings can not be scheduled, however, more than 18 months in advance.

A wedding date will be confirmed on Holy Trinity's calendar only after a priest has spoken with the engaged couple and determined the couple's freedom to enter into the sacrament of marriage.  If the couple is not going to be married by Father John Foriska, pastor of Holy Trinity, evidence of clerical approval must be provided before the date will be booked.

A Saturday wedding may be scheduled between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  Because of Saturday afternoon 4:00 p.m. Confession and 5:30 p.m. Mass, all weddings and clean-up must be completed before 4:00 p.m.  Couples who wish to schedule weddings on another day of the week must seek approval from the parish.  Only one wedding will be scheduled per day.  Weddings are not scheduled during Lent, on Holy Days or on any other date that would conflict with a parish event.  Weddings are usually not scheduled during Advent.  Please check with the parish before making other commitments.

If there is a preference for a particular priest other than Father John to preside at the liturgy, permission must first be granted by the pastor of Holy Trinity Parish.  Visiting priests are welcome but they must follow all parish guidelines for the celebration of the wedding liturgy.

The wedding rehearsal (usually scheduled on the evening before the wedding between 4:00 and 5:30 p.m.) can be scheduled six months prior to the wedding date.  The scheduling of a Friday evening wedding takes precedence over the scheduling of a Friday evening rehearsal up to six months prior to the wedding date.

 

Preparation
Meeting with the Pastor

There will be at least two meetings with Father John Foriska.  The necessary paperwork needs to be completed, documents need to be gathered, the FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study) survey will be given and reviewed, arrangements for the wedding discussed and a rehearsal date and time will be set.  During these meetings, the couple will finalize the choice of Scripture readings, prayers, blessings and other details of the wedding liturgy.

Documents

All baptized persons preparing for marriage must present a recent copy of their baptismal record.  Catholic parties must present a baptismal certificate that has been issued within six months of the marriage date.  To obtain a recent copy of your baptismal certificate, call the church where you were baptized and ask to have a copy sent to you or Holy Trinity Parish.

All necessary interviews and subsequent paperwork must be completed between six months and one month prior to the wedding (As an example, for a July 19 wedding, paperwork would be started anytime after January 19 and complete before June 19).  These interviews and the required paperwork should be completed by the priest presiding at the wedding liturgy.

marriage license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must be obtained and presented to the priest before the rehearsal.  Marriage licenses can be obtained from any county courthouse but are not available until 60 days prior to the wedding date (e.g., the marriage license for a July 19 wedding can be obtained after May 19).

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 below with Father John to decide which option best suits you.

​Sponsor Couples​Involve one married couple and one engaged couple.  The couples meet in the home of the married couple over the course of several evenings that are scheduled at the convenience of those involved.
​Engaged Encounter​This experience is a weekend program that begins on a Friday evening and ends Sunday afternoon.  This program takes place in the Greensburg area and is led by two or more married couples with up to 20 engaged couples attending.
Days for the EngagedThese days are offered on several Saturdays throughout the year.  Only those couples who can not participate in the Sponsor Couples or Engaged Encounter options may choose this alternative.  The program is led by one or two married couples and is limited to six engaged couples.

After you have decided which option suits you, information about dates and places for the programs or assignment to a local married couple are made by calling the Pastoral Associate of Catechesis, Carol Serafin (724-238-6341).

Couples are encouraged to complete this marriage preparation part of the process as early as possible.  All Catholic dioceses and many parishes offer marriage preparation programs that are accepted by the Diocese of Greensburg.  If the engaged couple can more conveniently arrange for marriage preparation elsewhere—particularly if one or both individuals are located outside the Diocese of Greensburg—then any such program is permitted.  Proof of participation in the marriage preparation program needs to be given to the priest preparing the couple.

 

Sacramental Preparation

It is proper that Catholics who are preparing to enter into the sacrament of marriage avail themselves of the sacrament of reconciliation prior to their wedding day.

 

Celebration

Weddings are normally celebrated within Mass.  However, when one person is not Catholic, the Rite of Marriage Outside Mass can be considered.  When one person is not baptized, the Rite of Marriage Outside Mass must be celebrated.  Holy Communion can not be distributed when a marriage ceremony takes place outside of Mass.

 

​Liturgy

Many customs and traditions, such as the two noted below, have been introduced into the wedding liturgy.  Couples are encouraged to discuss their wishes with Father John Foriska to determine what is, and is not, acceptable.

Opening RitesRite of Marriage
Liturgical ProcessionInstruction
GreetingConsent
HymnBlessing / Exchange of Rings
Opening PrayerPrayers for the Faithful
  
Liturgy of the WordLiturgy of the Eucharist
Reading (Old Testament)Preparation of the Gifts
Responsorial PsalmEucharistic Prayer
Reading (New Testament)Our Father
Gospel AcclamationNuptial Blessing
GospelCommunion Rite
HomilyPrayer After Communion
 
Concluding Rites 
Blessing and Dismissal
Recessional

 

Unity Candle
May be used.

​Presentation of Flowers to the Blesses Virgin Mary
Is permitted. Any other devotional practices must be checked with the pastor.


Music

A Christian 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.  We cite the following references from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and Liturgical Music Today as appropriate guidance in this matter:

Musical texts must always be consistent with Catholic teaching; indeed they should be drawn chiefly from Holy Scripture and from liturgical sources (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy [CSL], 121)

Music typically involves the assembly being led by a cantor and/or instrumentalists (cf. CSL, 28).

 The use of pre-recorded music is not permitted during the Liturgy (cf. Liturgical Music Today [LMT], 60).

Music in the liturgy which promotes performance over participation is discouraged.  The music selected must express the prayer of those who celebrate.  Individual preference is not, of itself, a sufficient principle for the choice of music in the liturgy.  It must be balanced with liturgical and musical judgments, and with the community's needs.  (LMT, 12)

Based upon this instruction and reason, the engaged couple must discuss their musical selections with the parish organist.  Music selections must follow diocesan guidelines.

 

Ministers

The wedding is a liturgical celebration.  The usual ministries are encouraged to be represented, including servers and reader(s).  Typically, Eucharistic Ministers are not needed unless special circumstances warrant, and such extenuating conditions should be discussed with the pastor beforehand.

 

Fees for Parishioners

Any individual who is a registered contributing member of Holy Trinity is considered a parishioner "with standing" in the parish.  In addition, "quasi-domicile" family members—i.e., a son or daughter of parents registered with and contributing to the parish—are also considered parishioners in good standing. The fees in this section are for parishioners with standing; fees for all others are listed in the Non-Parishioner section.

For parishioners "with standing" a facilities fee of $200.00 will be charged unless there is a financial hardship. This fee is to be paid on the day that the wedding date is confirmed (once a priest has determined that the a couple is free to enter into the sacrament of marriage).  If the wedding is later canceled and the cancellation is reported timely to the wedding facilities coordinator, one-half of the fee will be refunded. The facilities fee does not cover the following stipends, which are to be paid on the day of the rehearsal directly to the individuals providing the services:

$200Celebrant
$50Wedding Facilities Coordinator
$50Custodial Services
​XX​Contact Parish Organist
$10Each Altar Server

 

Fees for Non-Parishioners

Non-parishioners are welcome to marry at Holy Trinity Parish.  We would ask that they observe the following guidelines:

  1. Father John Foriska is generally available for weddings of non-parishioners.  If an outside priest is invited to preside at the wedding he is responsible for preparations, paperwork and the rehearsal unless he lives a distance from the bride and groom.
  2. All parish guidelines must be followed.  The visiting presider will be asked to consent to parish guidelines.
  3. The facilities fee for non-parishioners and parishioners without standing is $500. This fee is to be paid on the day that the wedding date is confirmed (once a priest has determined that the a couple is free to enter into the sacrament of marriage).  If the wedding is later canceled and the cancellation is reported timely to the wedding facilities coordinator, one-half of the fee will be refunded.  The facilities fee does not cover the following stipends, which are to be paid on the day of the rehearsal directly to the individuals providing the services: 
$250Celebrant
$75Wedding Facilities Coordinator
$50Custodial Services
​XX​Contact Parish Organist
$10Each Altar Server


​Policies Surrounding the Wedding Celebration at Holy Trinity Parish

Photography & Videography

​Your wedding day is indeed special and the marriage itself is a sacramental anointing of a full and enduring life together.  It is a reasonable expectation to "capture" this ceremony with photography and videography.  The Church does not object to this, but insists that the wedding liturgy is first and foremost, prayer and worship.  The church can not be a photography studio.

Special liturgies at Holy Trinity Parish may be photographed and videotaped by professionals in the field.  We would ask that everyone abide by the following guidelines:

  • Flash photography is permitted in the church during the wedding liturgy.
  • Those taking pictures or videotaping should limit their movement and always be unobtrusive to the liturgical progression.
  • Photographers and videographers must not enter the sanctuary area (the raised flooring surrounding the altar).
  • Anyone other than professionals taking pictures or videotaping are asked to remain in their seat during the liturgy.
  • Videographers may not attach or place microphones to the existing speaker system at Holy Trinity Parish.  The parish speaker system is used to enhance the liturgy.  Professionals are encouraged to arrive at the Church early and decide how to set up their sound system.
  • Any lighting devices may not be directed towards the ministers.  The light can disturb the ministers and disrupt the liturgy.

Worship Environment / Floral Arrangements

Every bride loves to adorn her wedding day with flowers and other decorations commensurate with the joyous celebration of the day.  Keeping in mind that the wedding Liturgy occurs within the context of Mass in a consecrated house of worship, the use of flowers and other accoutrements must comport to, and respect, the worship environment.  For this reason, Holy Trinity Parish requests adherence with the following guidelines:

  • Only freshly cut flowers and greens may be used within the church.  Artificial flowers and greens are never permitted.
  • The throwing of rice, bird seed, flower petals, bubbles, etc., or the release of birds, on Holy Trinity property is NOT permitted.
  • Seasonal decorations in the church may not be altered. Couples celebrating their wedding during Christmas or Easter seasons will be asked to make a donation to the church for the flower arrangements already provided by Holy Trinity. 
  • Pew decorations must be approved prior to the rehearsal by the Wedding Facilities Coordinator. Candles, tape or glue may not be used on the pews.
  • There is to be no alcoholic beverages or alcoholic "toasts" in any part of the church or on the premises.
  • Holy Trinity Parish and property are smoke-free and smoking is not permitted.
  • No furniture or statuary are to be moved at any time.
  • All cell phones are to be turned off during Mass

Additional Assistance

Christian Mothers: A member of Christian Mothers will be available on the day of the wedding to assist you with any last minute emergencies—safety pins, kleenex, etc.

Wedding Facilities Coordinator: The Wedding Facilities Coordinator, Addy Evangeliste, will attend the rehearsal to provide guidance related to use of the facilities.  She will also be available the day of the wedding to set up for the service and cleanup after the service.  All questions related to the facility and permitted uses can be directed to her at 724-238-6434.