The Greatest of These is Love
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife,
and the two become one body” (Gen 2:24)
What is Marriage? “It is a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life. By its nature it is ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (CCC1601)
“God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).
Why marriage? When God, who is the eternal community of love, created man in his image and likeness, he did not intend man, i.e. the human being, to be alone. And so he gave to him a suitable partner so that the two when united in marriage may become one flesh. As Adam declared, “At last, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh …” and the “two become one body” (Gen 2:23-24). And Jesus, the new Adam affirmed this when he said, “Let no man separate what God has joined” (Matt. 19:6). Marriage is exclusive, for the whole of life, and ordered to the procreation of children.
“Defer to one another out of reverence for Christ…
Each one should love his wife as he loves himself,
the wife for her part showing respect for her husband” (Ephesians 5:21, 32).
Why exclusive, for life, and for procreation? God, who is love itself, created man out of love and so God also calls him to love and be loved – this is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. And since God created man as male and female, their mutual love becomes an image of God’s absolute and unfailing and faithful love toward his Bride, the Church. Likewise He called on them to be fruitful and multiply (see CCC 1604). The Second Vatican Council taught: By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory” (Gaudium et Spes, 48).
“Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined” (Matthew 19:6b).
Why indissoluble? Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning. And so the matrimonial union is indissoluble. This may seem burdensome, but God gives the strength and grace needed to live marriage within his Kingdom. By following Christ and renouncing themselves, the couple bears each others crosses. The grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life (see CCC 1615).
“Yes God so loved the world that he gave his only Son
that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Why a Mass? In the Latin Rite, marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Mass because of the connection of all sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. By having a Mass, the Catholic couple offers their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for the Church. By communicating in the same body and blood of Christ, they (the couple) form “one body” in Christ (CCC 1621).
“If two of you join your voices
it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven”
Who will marry us? The spouses are the ministers of Christ’s grace. They mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. The priest or deacon is simply the witness to the mutual consent for the sake of the Church (see CCC 1623).
“Bow humbly under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time he may lift you high.
Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you”
What is a Mixed Marriage?
A mixed marriage is between two validly baptized persons, one of whom is not a Catholic. This requires a dispensation from the pastor. It is understood that if a dispensation is sought by the Catholic party, he/she must make known to the non-Catholic party his/her obligation of preserving his/her own Catholic faith and of ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church (CCC 1635). The couple may receive permission to have a clergyman from the other ecclesial community perform the ceremony and still be recognized by the Catholic Church.
What is Disparity of Cult?
Disparity of Cult is a marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptized person. This requires a dispensation from the archbishop). Though this marriage is not sacramental, it is considered valid by the Church when appropriate dispensations are received. It is understood that if a dispensation is sought by the Catholic party, he/she has made known to the non-Catholic party his/her obligation of preserving his/her own faith and of ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church (CCC 1635). Also, “sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion” (CCC 1637). The couple may receive permission to have a clergyman from the other religion perform the ceremony and still be recognized by the Catholic Church. This ceremony may be performed outside a church.
“Only true knowledge of a person makes it possible to commit one’s freedom to him or her” (John Paul II, Love and Responsibility, p.135)
It is expected that a couple meet with a priest or deacon about a year before the intended date of marriage to give adequate time to prepare. “So that the marriage covenant may have a solid and lasting human and Christian foundation; preparation is of prime importance” (CCC 16232).
Prenuptial Investigation (PNI)
The parties to be married must be free to contract marriage. Therefore, they may not be under any constraints and not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law. Each person must be mature and free to exchange consent, which is indispensible for a valid marriage for “freedom exists for the sake of love” (John Paul II). The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear (see CCC 1625-1628).
Not a Parishioner?
If both bride and groom are not registered parishioners of the Church of the Assumption, they will need a letter from their pastor(s) giving them permission to marry at the Church of the Assumption. You are welcome to invite your pastor or other priests to celebrate or concelebrate the wedding. Please make these intentions known early.
Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act and therefore it is appropriate that is should be celebrated in a public liturgy in the Church. The Bishops of the New Jersey Province also require that a sacramental marriage be performed in a church, chapel, or oratory.
The following programs have been established to help you truly know one another:
Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter
Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter Weekend are required. Pre-Cana is an experience centered on the process of listening through which a couple communicates, manifests their own feelings about marriage and with the guidance of married couples and a priest or deacon, internalize certain basic concepts of Christian marriage.
Engaged Encounter is a weekend away with other engaged couples with time alone to dialogue honestly and intensively about your prospective lives together, your role in the Church and society, your strengths and weaknesses, your desires, ambitions, goals and your attitude about money, children, and family in a face-to-face manner. Go here to register.
God’s Plan of a Joy-Filled Marriage
This is a required seminar. God’s Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage is an interactive seminar based on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which offers married and engaged couples a compelling vision of God’s glorious plan of marriage, love and human sexuality. The one preparing the couple has a schedule of dates and sites available.
Natural Family Planning is a modern, scientific method of fertility control. It is 100% natural and safe. And it is 99% effective in postponing pregnancy, which ought not be postponed indefinitely. To register call 973-497-4325 or email NFP@rcan.org . The website is www.njnfp.org . It is required that the couple take this class in preparation since a Catholic marriage is one that is open to life, whereas artificial means of contraception violate both the unitive and procreative ends of marriage.
Setting a Date
Call the rectory before finding a reception hall. Often the dates are not available for a marriage.
The parish has organists and leaders of song on staff. It is the couple’s responsibility to contact our organist and wedding coordinator at least 6 weeks before the marriage ceremony to plan music. A reminder: Matrimony, sacramental or not, has its own dignity and it must be respected. Secular music is usually unacceptable and inappropriate for a marriage setting. Our organist will help you choose songs that are both liturgically appropriate and beautiful. If you have someone who wants to sing a song at your wedding, he/she must meet with our organist. Her services are necessary to ensure that proper liturgical music is selected. Other musical instrumentalists may be added upon request. Appropriate fees would apply.
Recorded music is not allowed.
Flowers and plants are your responsibility. We only ask that arrangements do not block the view of the altar or block any aisles.
The use of floral gates, arches, and ropes between pews are not permitted. Pews may be decorated with bows or flowers using pew clips, ribbon or rubber bands only, no tape. If one wedding follows another, the couples may want to share the expenses. The couple is more than welcome to donate their floral arrangements to the church. Florists should remove any stands or pedestals that they have employed immediately after the marriage ceremony. The parish is not responsible for these items.
Sorry, runners are not permitted. In the past there have been serious accidents due to people tripping on the runner during communion and at the recessional.
Your wedding day is a special time of your life. Photographs and videos are a great keepsake; however the marriage ceremony is a moment of worship and so proper decorum is a must. Therefore,
1.The photographers/videographers must consult with the celebrant prior to the ceremony. 2.Mobile dollies and tripods are not permitted. 3.No one is permitted in the sanctuary (beyond the altar rail). 4.No one is to impede the procession. 5.No one is to interfere with the liturgy (he will be escorted out of the church). 6.The photographer may request access to the choir loft from the organist. 7.Flashes are permitted. Flood lights are prohibited. 8.Remember a good photographer is an unnoticed photographer.
Some styles of dress today, while appropriate for evening wear and parties are not appropriate for church. The virtue of modesty and respect for God’s house must be taken seriously. Dresses must not be above knee length and shoulders and chests must be covered.
It is imperative that both bride and groom and their witnesses come to the church sober. In exchanging vows and witnessing them, all parties must be competent. Marriage is not to be entered into lightly. One who makes a promise while intoxicated may invalidate his consent.
It is important to be punctual. Other rituals and liturgies are going on in the church throughout the day. When a wedding has a late start it interferes with other weddings, Masses, baptisms, and funerals. If the ceremony does not begin on time, certain parts of the ceremony may be dropped such as the candle lighting, receiving lines, gift to the Blessed Mother, liturgy of the Eucharist, etc. Weddings usually happen at 1:00 and 3:00. Other times may be considered.
Fees and Donations
The minimum donation requested helps with basic church expenses. The party that follows the marriage ceremony at church is a grand event with many happy memories. Often, enormous amounts are spent on limos, dresses, food, entertainment, and of course the cake. But the climax of the day happens at church when the bride and groom exchange their vows before God, the Church, family and friends.
If you have financial burdens please discuss this with the priest or deacon preparing you. He can help make the appropriate accommodations.
We ask for a non-refundable deposit of $500 from a registered parishioners who have been members for at least a year at the booking of the date of the marriage ceremony. This includes music and other incidentals. We also ask that the couple make an offering to the parish a month before the ceremony according to their means.
Please write checks out to Church of the Assumption.
Non-parishioners are asked to make a non-refundable deposit of $600 at the time of booking and donate another $600 or more to the Church of the Assumption a month prior to the ceremony.
Altar servers for the Mass ought to be given a cash tip at your discretion. There may be two servers. This is given in cash. Please place it in an envelope and present this to the priest at rehearsal.