A fair and reasonable parish policy needs to be established to ensure that Catholics have reasonable options available to them in scheduling their marriages at Mass or outside Mass. This will have to take into account the full schedule of parish services and the number of available clergy in each parish.
The parish policy for the scheduling of marriage celebrations should be clearly communicated to all parishioners. The parish policy should appear regularly in the parish bulletin. parish website, and be available in print as part of whatever marriage preparation materials are given to engaged couples. Since the number of weddings celebrated at Mass may be limited in a particular parish, couples should be helped to understand that it will not always be possible to celebrate a wedding on the day of their first choice.
In the scheduling of marriage liturgies, the communal nature of the sacrament of marriage should be fostered. Appropriate catechesis of the faithful is necessary to help the community to understand the communal dimension of this sacrament. This is especially important, if marriages are to be celebrated occasionally at a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass or if several marriages are celebrated together.
In establishing a parish marriage schedule, the integrity of the liturgical calendar and the community’s celebration of Sunday should be respected.
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A parish, through consultation with the Chancellor, may develop a policy scheduling the number and the time of weddings on a given day depending on the pastoral situation and the number of ministers available to celebrate marriages. This parish policy also includes the scheduling of special wedding anniversary Masses.
The Ritual of Marriage outside Mass (II) may be used with no restriction, keeping in mind the character of the season.
A Catholic satisfies the obligation to participate in the Mass in a Catholic rite by attending or assisting at any mass, including wedding Masses, on a Sunday, Holy Day, Saturday evening or the vigil of a Holy Day (Canon 1248). While the Code of Canon Law does not provide an explicit definition, “evening” is generally understood as late afternoon from about 4:00 PM.
Parish communities may invite more than one couple to consider celebrating their weddings at the same ceremony or Mass. Parishes shall continue to offer couples the option, however, of having individual celebrations of marriage. (Canon 1115)
If visiting Catholic clergy have been invited to witness a wedding, it is understood that they are to honor the parish’s scheduling policy as well as Archdiocesan and parochial expectations for marriage preparation and the celebration of the liturgy. They are also to obtain proper Event Faculties through the Office of Clergy Personnel before they arrive to witness the event. (See Policy §402.1.1., Responsibility for Witnessing, herein)