The First Steps
Congratulations! We extend our best wishes to you both, as you begin a life-long journey, shared together as husband and wife. May you also be blessed in your decision not to make this journey alone, but to invite our Lord Jesus Christ into your marriage and to walk with Him in faith and devotion all the days of your life. As you prepare, it worth keeping in mind the following promise made by Jesus, which also applies to marriage and family life: “For where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20).
Belonging to a Parish. As you prepare to establish a new family home, whether it be a house, an apartment or a condominium, at the same time, it is also important to commit to a “spiritual home,” a place of gathering, prayer, worship, fellowship and service, where a parish community will eventually become your “extended family.” If you are not currently members of a particular parish, we take this opportunity to invite and welcome you to our parish community and to make St. Josaphat’s Cathedral your “spiritual home!” To become members, simply call the parish office, or fill out one of the membership cards at the back of the church and place it in the collection basket during the Divine Liturgy.
Tentative Date and Time. Most weddings are held on Saturdays at the following times: 11:00 am; 1:00 pm; and 3:00 pm. Times however, may vary. If both parties have never been married before, a tentative date and time may be booked over the phone or in person, and later confirmed at the first interview with the pastor. If you or your fiancé have been married before, please inform the pastor or priest about your situation as soon as possible.
Baptismal Certificate. You will need to contact the parish church where you were baptized to obtain a newly issued Baptismal Certificate. If you have any difficulties obtaining a recent Baptismal Certificate, please let us know.
Witnesses. You will require two witnesses for your wedding. This role is normally fulfilled by the best man and maid-of-honour. At the first interview, you will need to provide the priest with the names of your chosen witnesses, along with their contact information.
First and Second Interviews. Please bring a recent issue of your Baptismal Certificate to the first scheduled interview. The first interview provides the priest an opportunity to meet with you, to discuss your desires and plans, and to fill out the necessary forms required by Canon Law. The second interview, which may be scheduled several weeks or months later, will focus on important issues concerning married life and your readiness to enter the Mystery of Christian Marriage, understood as an indissoluble covenant of love.
Marriage Preparation. All couples are required to take the Marriage Preparation Course offered at St. Josaphat’s Cathedral annually, in the month of February.
Faith Inquiry. If the marriage is between a Ukrainian Catholic and a non-Catholic, it is recommended that additional sessions of instruction be taken by the couple together.
Adult Catechumenate. If one of you is not Baptized and/or Chrismated and wishes to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church, please notify the priest as soon as possible. The preparation of adults for Christian Initiation begins in September and ends in March. All adults are Baptized and/or Chrismated on Holy Saturday, the day before Holy Pascha (Easter).
Permission to Re-Marry. If you or your fiancé have been married before, and you have not yet received permission to re-marry in the Catholic Church, we will need to submit your case to the Marriage Tribunal as soon as possible. Once permission is obtained, we will be able to proceed with the scheduling of a date and time for the wedding service.
Spiritual Preparation. Marriage is a Holy Mystery or Sacrament. Please prepare spiritually for your wedding day with personal prayer, regular attendance at Sunday Liturgy, Holy Confession and Holy Communion.
Marriage License. Couples are responsible for obtaining a marriage license from one of the Registries prior to their wedding. Please bring the marriage license to church on the day of the rehearsal.
Wedding Rehearsal. Wedding rehearsals are usually held on Friday night before the wedding, at 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm. Rehearsals may also be held on Thursday night.
Promptness and Attire. Please ensure that everyone arrives on time for the rehearsal and for the wedding service. Modest and proper attire is mandatory for the rehearsal and for the wedding service. Please use common sense and good taste and judgment.
The Wedding Service. In the Byzantine tradition, the wedding ceremony (about 50 minutes) is a distinct service, which does not include the celebration of the Eucharist (Divine Liturgy). However, if you wish, the wedding service may be combined with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, allowing for the reception of Holy Communion.
- Liturgical norms. Please note that wedding services follow the liturgical norms of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Some exceptions are permitted with respect to the entrance procession, the signing of the register, and the final recession.
- Cantor/Choir. The presence of a cantor or choir for the service is essential, because they lead the congregation in all responses. Couples are responsible to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that a cantor or choir will be present at the wedding to lead the singing. See Appendix 1 for options and contact information.
- Wreaths or Crowns. The most important moment during the wedding service is the crowning, during which the priest invokes the Holy Spirit to descend upon the couple, to unite them and to “crown them with glory and honour.” For the crowning, metal crowns or wreaths made of periwinkle may be used. The preference is to use wreaths. These can be easily prepared by your florist. Metal crowns are provided by the church.
- Icons. It is recommended that couples obtain two icons for their wedding ceremony: the icon of Christ and the icon of Mary with Child. These are placed upon the tetrapod for the marriage service, blessed, and then taken home to create the family home icon corner. Icons may be ordered from the following internet sites: www.easternchristiansupply.biz | www.uncutmountainsupply.com | www.holytrinitystore.com | www.religiousicons.com
- Embroidered towels. It is suggested that the couple obtain two embroidered towels for their wedding. The first towel is used to bind the hands of the couple. This towel is later used to adorn the icons in the family home. A second optional towel may be used for the vows, upon which the couple kneels or stands.
- In accordance with Sacred Scripture, the Eastern Church, and Eastern European tradition, weddings rings are usually worn on the right hand. However, if you chose to wear your rings on the left hand, please inform the priest.
- Epistle Reading. As a couple, you will be able to select an Epistle reading from several options (see Appendix). A friend, a family member, or a member of the bridal party may read the Epistle for the marriage service. The assigned reader should be present at the wedding rehearsal.
- Service Booklets. The Parish will provide booklets for the wedding service in church. It is recommended that ushers distribute the booklets, to help guests find appropriate seating, and to collect the booklets at the end of the service.
- Decorations. If you wish to decorate the pews or aisles, please inform the priest. Certain decorations may be permitted. The use of tape is prohibited.
- Pictures and Video. A photographer or video operator is permitted to take pictures or to record the wedding service. Please request that the person arrive early and that he/she speaks to the priest.
- Flowers. Flowers are arranged through your florist and should be delivered to the church on Saturday morning or early afternoon. The florist should call the parish office ahead of time to make arrangements for a specific delivery time. For access to the church on the day of the wedding, please ring the doorbell at the parish office.
Donation to the Church. Taking into consideration the time and preparation required for weddings, couples are requested to make a gift-donation to the Cathedral to support the mission of the Church.
Additional Information. Please call the parish office for any further information concerning your wedding arrangements.