Through Holy Matrimony, man and woman are brought together into a holy union.
Diocesan regulations require that couples make arrangements for weddings at least six months in advance.
1. Instructions on marriage for the couple are required by the Diocese of Pittsburgh. These may be taken in Pittsburgh, in McKeesport or at St. Angela. Engaged Encounter Weekends are an enjoyable and fruitful way to fulfill this requirement.
2. Copies of Baptismal certificates dated within the last six months are required.
3. Papers are filed and interviews held by appointment at the parish office.
Engaged persons who come from different faith backgrounds should meet once more with the priest to discuss the particular sensitivity each partner must have to the other's faith development and practice. At this time, the Catholic partner is specifically asked to verify his or her intention to share the Catholic faith with his or her children.
Marriage of Minors: If one or both of the parties has not reached the age of 18 by the wedding date, the priest is required to seek the insights of others for their opinions. He will meet with both sets of parents and/or guardians and will refer the young couple to an Evaluator who will meet with them and offer an assessment. When the priest has all of this information, he will then decide whether the couple is ready for marriage.
Pre-Marital Pregnancy: It used to be common thinking that pre-marital pregnancy was justification enough for a couple to enter into marriage, but the divorce rate among such couples is extremely high. Therefore, pregnancy is not to be the motivating factor for marriage. The priest may want to meet with both sets of parents or seek the input of an Evaluator. Pregnancy does not remove the requirement of participation in a pre-marriage program of some type.
The priest may determine, in any case, not just in the case of the special circumstances discussed above, that the marriage should be delayed. His decision may be based on his detection, in either of the engaged parties, a lack of readiness for marriage, a lack of appreciation for the spiritual and sacramental aspects of marriage, non-practice of the faith, cohabitation, a decision to permanently prevent pregnancy or refusal to take part in a pre-marriage program, evaluation or counseling.
The wedding date cannot be reserved until the couple meets with the priest at least six months before the proposed marriage. Customarily, couples marry in the parish of the bride, but if only one is Catholic, the sacrament should be administered in the parish of the Catholic party.
Before a wedding date can be firmly established, the priest will want to interview the engaged parties to assist them in making a mature judgment concerning their marriage. He will discuss spiritual, emotional, psychological, financial and family factors, all of which play a part in the decision to marry. The priest will assess the couple's readiness to marry and will recommend that they proceed to take part in a pre-marriage program of instruction, such as one of those discussed above in the section on Diocesan regulations regarding marriage. If the priest feels that one or both of the parties is not prepared for the sacrament, he will recommend that the marriage be delayed.
Some couples may already have participated in some type of marriage ceremony but have not received the sacrament of Matrimony, in which case a period of assessment or completion of a pre-marriage program may still be required before they can received the sacrament.
For the Wedding Ceremony:
1. The couple plans the ceremony with the priest.
2. Music arrangements are made with the parish Music Minister.
3. The offering at weddings, which should be in keeping with the style of the ceremony planned, is made to the parish treasury, not to the officiating minister.