Sacrament of Holy Matrimony at Saint Bridget
May God bless you, hold and keep you,
May God’s mercy shine on you.
Guide your work and guard your resting,
Keep your love forever new.
Refrain from the Nuptial Blessing
Beginning Wedding Plans with St. Bridget
Married couples are called by God to be instruments of Christ’s Real Presence. Parishes exist to assist the faithful in discerning God’s call. St. Bridget parish offers you these five steps as you begin to plan your wedding and then your married life:
1. The first step in this discernment asks those considering marriage to reflect upon the sacred nature of married life, the Church’s teachings around it and your personal view of marriage. There are some links to web resources to the left of this page, to assist you with this.
2. Once this initial discernment is complete and you are sure of God’s call to the married life, the second step is to contact the parish, fill out a wedding information sheet on which you request your wedding date and wait for that date to be confirmed by the Wedding Coordinator, Mrs. Pat Morrison. Mrs. Morrison will help you on your way to that happy day!
3. After you have the date confirmed, the third step is to cooperate with the parish Wedding Coordinator who will work with you to assist you in contacting the priest or deacon.
4. The fourth step is to meet with the priest/deacon who will guide you through the required questionnaires and document gathering. The priest or deacon will also help you arrange to attend the required marriage preparation.
5. The fifth step is to use this Handbook and its checklist to assist you in making sure you are accomplishing all that the Church requires so that your wedding day may be a day full of loving celebration.
Weddings require six months of planning because there is so much to accomplish and because the availability of the clergy and the church are limited.
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May God join your hopeful spirits,
fill your hearts with truth and courage,
trust to share both joy and tears,
teach love to your children's children;
May your household learn to witness
living faith through all your years.
General Requirements for Marriage at St. Bridget
Those preparing for marriage live according to the law of Christ and the Church. At Saint Bridget this means:
1. Parish registration: At St. Bridget our first responsibility is to provide for the weddings of our established parishioners and their immediate families. An established parishioner is one who has been registered in the parish for at least six months. If you or your immediate family has been registered at St. Bridget for six months or longer, you may begin the process of selecting a wedding date as outlined above.
If you or your immediate family are not presently registered at St. Bridget, in order to schedule a wedding here you will need to go through the parish registration process and then wait until you have been registered for six months before beginning the process of selecting a wedding date.
2. Free to sacramentally marry: A wedding cannot be scheduled until the Church establishes that both parties are free to marry.
3. Understanding the difference between Nuptial Mass and Liturgy of the Word with Nuptial Vows: In the Roman Catholic Church the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass because of the connection of all the sacraments with the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives within the context of the Eucharist, which celebrates Christ’s giving of himself so that we might have eternal life. (CCC #1621)
Those preparing for marriage are formed and trained for this vocation. At Saint Bridget, this means:
1. Meetings with the priest or deacon. He will arrange for your participation in the Richmond area Christian Marriage Formation. The number of additional meetings with the priest/deacon will be determined by your needs, wishes and circumstances.
2. Ecumenical and interfaith marriage counseling: When a Catholic is marrying a person who does not share the Catholic faith tradition, the priest/deacon will discuss with the couple the challenges and opportunities present in such a marriage. While respecting the conviction of others, the Church expects that the convictions of the Catholic spouse will also be respected, and as such the spouse who does not share the Catholic faith tradition will be expected to consent to the raising of any children to take place in the Catholic tradition.
In the event of an ecumenical or interfaith marriage, the participation of clergy from another faith is most welcome. In addition, arrangements can be made for celebrating the marriage in the house of worship of the party who is not Catholic. Again, please talk with the priest/deacon about this early in the marriage preparation process.
Those preparing for marriage are supported by the parish. At Saint Bridget this means there is a Wedding Team and special space allocations at the Church to support the spouses in preparing for and celebrating their marriage. This wedding team includes:
Priest(s) and Deacons: You may choose one of the priests or deacons to witness your wedding vows, and if they are available, they will be happy to assist you. If you do not have a preference, one of them will be assigned to you approximately six months prior to your wedding date.
When a guest priest/deacon will be presiding at a wedding at St. Bridget, he should send a letter confirming his participation and indicating what parts of the marriage preparation will need to be done at St. Bridget. If the wedding of a St. Bridget parishioner is to be celebrated in a Catholic Church other than St. Bridget, the priest or deacon who will be presiding must contact the local priest to coordinate preparation arrangements.
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Wedding Coordinator(s): These people are part of the St. Bridget staff. Their role is to provide you with an abiding presence as you plan for and celebrate your wedding. They represent Christ and the people of St. Bridget parish who are present to you as you prepare and celebrate. Mrs.
Pat Morrison is the wedding coordinator here at St. Bridget.
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Music/Musicians: Near the time you meet with the priest or deacon to plan your marriage ceremony in accordance with the Rite of Marriage, the parish Music Minister will be in touch with you to plan the music for your celebration. The parish Music Minister serves as the regular accompanist for weddings, and a parish cantor will be assigned to lead the congregational singing. It is not necessary to have another soloist. Mr. Allen Bean is the Music Minister for St. Bridget Church.
The parish Music Minister can assist the couple in obtaining the services of additional instrumentalists if desired. These additional instrumentalists might include violinists or trumpeters.
The wedding liturgy music must be planned under the direction of the Music Minister or his assistant. All music must be appropriate to the readings chosen from Sacred Scripture and to the dignity of the Rite of Marriage. Additionally, the music for the congregational singing must be able to be sung by all present. This includes the musical settings for the gathering hymn, the psalm and for a Mass, the service muisic and the communion hymn(s). The Music Minister will be happy to work with the couple to see that these criteria are met so that the wedding ceremony reveals Christ’s presence in the sung Word.
The couple should make an appointment with the Music Minister to complete this planning process. At that time, if the couple desires a wedding program/leaflet , the Music Minister will review its format with the couple to see that it reflects the Rite of Marriage. Printing the program is the couple’s responsibility.
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Church's Florist: It is customary for there to be flowers and/or greens that decorate the altar during a wedding. These then remain in the sanctuary to adorn the Sunday liturgies, during which the couple is remembered in the parish’s prayer. Should more than one wedding be happening on a weekend, the parish suggests that the couples share floral arrangements.
To assist the couples with this, the church’s florist will meet with you to plan for and arrange the altar flowers. She will contact you approximately three months prior to your wedding.
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To further support your wedding celebration, St. Bridget parish has a large room available for the bride and/or bridesmaids to use to dress. There are other rooms available where other members of the wedding party may gather before the celebration begins.
Weddings are scheduled on Saturdays at 11:00 am & 2:00 pm with rehearsals the evening before at 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. Weddings are not scheduled during Lent.
Unity candles are not used, nor are runners. Tape cannot be applied to the pews, and flower petals, birdseed or any other form of confetti may not strewn inside or out.
Checklist to help you celebrate your Marriage at St. Bridget
Scheduling a Wedding at St. Bridget
Weddings at St. Bridget are scheduled on Saturday at 11:00 AM or 2:00 PM, with rehearsals the preceding evening. No wedding may take place during our weekend liturgical schedule which begins at 4:00PM on Saturday and extends through Sunday evening. Weddings on weekdays will be considered by special request only. Please note: Weddings are not scheduled during the penitential season of Lent or during the celebration of the Triduum.
Preparing for the Wedding
This checklist is designed to help make sure you are moving through the wedding planning process with regard to St. Bridget. Each item will need to be taken care of in order for your wedding to take place here. Please click here to open a copy of the checklist and print it for your use.
May God make your home a refuge
where you warmly welcome strangers
and the lowly find a place;
make you caring kind companions,
help you meet the needs of neighbors
finding Christ in ev'ry face.