Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador Marriage Regulations
Section 1: For all Marriages
1. Age for Marriage: Both persons must be at least 18 years old. The Church encourages young people to take their time in making so important a decision.
2. Notice of Marriage: The parish should be notified at least six months in advance, and a date and time set. Only then should other plans be made.
3. Place of Marriage: All marriages are to take place in a Roman Catholic Church, or, with permission, the place of worship of another denomination. This permission should not be presumed.
4. Marriage Preparation: All couples are required to follow a program designed to help them prepare for marriage. Depending on local arrangements, this can take some time, and should be done where the couple ordinarily live.
5. Witnesses: Marriage is a public act, and a sacrament of the Church. It usually takes place within the worshipping community, with family and friends invited. There must be two official witnesses at least 16 years old.
6. Freedom to Marry: All persons thinking of marriage will need to supply any documents necessary to show that they are free to marry in the Roman Catholic Church.
7. Respect for the Sacrament: Everything connected with a marriage, including the reception, should be in keeping with the fact that marriage is a Christian Sacrament. The music chosen should be approved church music. (Before selecting any music, the parish should be consulted.) Photographs may be taken by an official photographer, provided there is no distraction from the ceremony. The photographer should consult in advance the person officiating and should follow parish rules. Video Cameras should be in a fixed place and floodlights and flash should be avoided. Because of the unusual difficulty in cleaning it up rice, confetti, or anything similar should NOT be used in the church or on church grounds.
8. Marriage Offering: For use of the church and other parish expenses, the usual offering for a marriage is $100.00. Where a couple cannot afford this, they should give what they can.
9. License: For marriage, the couple needs a marriage license from an issuer of marriage licenses in the Province. This must be issued not more than 30 days before the marriage, and given to the person officiating at least 4 days before the marriage.
Section 2: Marriage of Two Roman Catholics
10. The Proper Parish: A marriage should take place in the parish in which either the bride or the groom ordinarily lives. Where neither has a fixed residence, it can take place in a parish where one of them currently lives. For good reasons, a marriage may take place in another parish.
11. Person Officiating: The person who officiates is normally a priest of the parish where the marriage takes place. By arrangement, it may be another priest or a deacon. Where there is no priest or deacon, another person delegated by the bishop may officiate.
12. Nuptial Mass: Where the persons to be married are practicing Roman Catholics the marriage is normally celebrated during a Nuptial (Wedding) Mass. For good reasons, however, it may take place within the Liturgy of the Word.
13. Documents Needed:
· Church certificates of baptism, which should not more than six months old.
· Confirmation certificates (If at all possible, Roman Catholics not confirmed should receive confirmation before marriage.)
· Where a person is not well known to the person who prepares the papers, evidence of their freedom to marry. (For a marriage in another parish, there should be a letter of freedom from the parish where a person resides.)
· In cases of a previous marriage, annulment and divorce papers, or a death certificate.
· A provincial marriage license (n. 9, above).
Section 3: Inter-Church or Inter-Faith Marriages
14. Church Teaching: Husbands and wives best support one another when they share prayer and worship together. When this cannot be, each must be faithful to their own beliefs. For sincere Roman Catholics, this includes faithful practice of their own religion, and handing on their faith to their children. For these reasons, Christian denominations often encourage marriage of their members with others who share the same religious views. Certainly the matter of religious beliefs and practices should be important to any couple from the beginning of their serious courtship.
15. Dispensation (Permission) Needed:
· For the reasons given in n. 14, Part I, every Roman Catholic requires permission when they plan to marry a person who is not a Roman Catholic, and further permission if the marriage is to take place in the church of another denomination.
· While they must respect the faith the faith and values of others, Roman Catholics have a duty to give witness to their own. Therefore they must promise to do all in their power to practice their own religion and to ensure the Roman Catholic baptism and upbringing of their children. A Roman Catholic who is entering an inter-church or inter-faith marriage must make such a promise sincerely.
· One who is not a Roman Catholic should understand this promise. He or she should also be aware of Roman Catholic teaching on marriage and personally accept marriage as a commitment to a physical and spiritual union of life and love that is life-long and open to the gift of children.
16. Place of Marriage: Normally, such a marriage should take place in the parish church of the Roman Catholic. If, however, there are serious obstacles to this, permission may be given for the marriage to take place in the place of worship of another denomination. In this case, the person concerned should bring a copy of the marriage certificate to his or her own parish within 30 days after the wedding.
17. Liturgical Celebration:
·The religious celebration of such marriages should be one in which the spouses, their families and their friends, can all share fully. For this reason, such a marriage should take place within a Liturgy of the Word instead of the Eucharist. In any event, inter-communion is not permitted.
·The priest or minister in whose church the marriage takes place receives the marriage vows and gives the blessing according to the rites of that church. A priest or minister of another denomination may read the Scriptures, offer prayers and other blessings, or preach. Couples should always discuss these arrangements with the pastor in whose church the marriage will take place.