The Sacrament of Marriage

The Catholic Church believes that the marriage bond is sacred and permanent. In the wedding ceremony the bride and groom administer the sacrament to each other by their declaration of consent. In this awesome and holy act, they are filled with the Holy Spirit who strengthens them for their life together. This is the blessing couples seek by coming to the Church for their marriage.

Sometimes couples want to be married in a church because of social pressure or family tradition. These are not sufficient reasons in themselves for choosing a church wedding. A church is the appropriate venue for the marriage of those who believe in Christ and who wish to celebrate publicly God’s blessing of their union. [1]

The effect of the sacrament is an increase in sanctifying grace for the spouses, a participation in the divine life of God Himself. [2]

In the Catholic tradition marriage is protected by two thousand years of pastoral experience embodied in the practical wisdom of the Church’s canon law. The marriage of a man and a woman is revered by the Catholic Church as a vocation ordained by God. It is both a reflection of God’s love, and a manifestation of God’s love in the world. For this reason, the Church understands marriage as a life-long partnership in which the couple co-operates with God in the creation of the human race. Marriage is a public event in which the couple professes an exclusive lifelong love for each other. Where the couple are both baptised Christians, marriage is a sacrament which bestows spiritual graces on the couple.

... to have a Catholic wedding is to invite Christ to your wedding, just as that couple from Cana once did — with wonderful and unexpected results. [3]

Weddings at Holy Spirit

Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage. You are warmly welcome to celebrate your wedding at Holy Spirit Parish Church. The following information may be helpful to you.

  1. Bookings. Please book your wedding at least six months in advance by calling the Parish Secretaries.
  2. Documents Required. Both Bride and Groom must obtain the following documents so that the marriage papers can be prepared by your Celebrant.

  3. Government Requirements:
    1. Notice of intended marriage - Usually the Celebrant for your wedding will help you complete this form. In some circumstances it may be necessary to arrange for another Celebrant do do this. The form is to be signed by both parties, at least one month prior to the wedding.
    2. Birth Certificate or current passport - Both parties require an official certificate showing the date and place of their birth and the registration number. If necessary, a Birth Certificate can be obtained from a Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Persons born in Australia require a birth certificate, persons born outside Australia may use their passport.
    3. Declaration of freedom to marry - This must be signed before the Celebrant prior to the wedding, normally a few days before the marriage.
    Church Requirements:
    1. Baptism certificates - If both parties are baptized they will both require a Baptism Certificate.
    2. Pre-nuptial enquiry form - This will be filled in with the priest who is preparing the couple for their marriage.
    3. Application for a dispensation - This will be required when one of the parties is not a Catholic. The priest preparing the couple for their wedding will prepare and handle the necessary application.
    4. Marriage preparation programme - Very suitable programmes are run by Catholic Care. The priest helping the couple plan their wedding will provide information about these.
  1. Priest. If you live outside the parish of Holy Spirit, you are free to choose your own priest or Holy Spirit will provide the celebrant. When the celebrant is not a priest from Holy Spirit please make sure that you provide us with his name.
  2. Nuptial Mass or Wedding Ceremony? Couples need to consider whether it is preferable to have a Nuptial Mass or Wedding Ceremony. The Sacrament of Marriage is more appropriately celebrated within a Nuptial Mass for those who are practising Catholics. However, in other circumstances the Wedding Ceremony is more suitable, as a significant number of your guests may feel they cannot fully participate.
  3. Photography and Videos. These are allowed in the church provided they are unobtrusive and those responsible for them do not behave in an undignified way. The decorum due in a church is sometimes forgotten by those in these capacities . They may not enter the sanctuary at any time but if they consult with the priest before the ceremony, he will suggest places they might use for some good shots of the ceremony.
  4. Music and Your Wedding. You may choose to make your own arrangement for music. You may choose a parish organist by enquiry via the Parish Secretaries. All copyright laws are to be observed and respected. All written hymns must contain a Licence No. Recorded music must have copyright approval.
  5. Flowers and Decorations. You may provide your own flowers or you may wish to use the services of our parish florist, enquire of the Parish Secretaries. Seasonal and liturgical signs and symbols are part of the Church's decor and cannot be removed for weddings.
  6. Confetti, etc. No Confetti, rose petals, rice, or soap bubbles may be used inside the church - please notify your guests.
  7. Next steps. If you require more information or would like to chat about any queries regarding church arrangements you may have, please feel free to call Holy Spirit Parish.

Other references