Christian marriage is a great adventure, through which you will establish a new family, grow in love with each other, and encounter Christ in your personal and family life. A Catholic wedding emphasizes the sacred nature of marriage—one that involves a life commitment, total fidelity between a man and woman, and an openness to children.
St. Paul Catholic Newman Center looks forward to celebrating your love on the day of your wedding. May you find true joy as husband and wife on your wedding day and all the days of your life. If you are interested in making wedding plans at the Newman Center, please call Carol at 436-3434.
Helpful Marriage Information:
Who can be married at St. Paul Catholic Newman Center?
At least one party must be Catholic and a registered member of St. Paul Catholic Newman Center. This includes any son or daughter of a registered family or a student of CSU, Fresno, Fresno City College, Fresno Pacific University or other college in the Fresno/Clovis area. Couples who belong to another Catholic parish or are not registered at the Newman Center must secure a written letter from their pastor giving permission for them to be married in this parish, or they may choose to register as parishioners of St. Paul Catholic Newman Center. In order to celebrate your wedding in a Catholic Church, the following guidelines are helpful to note:
- One person must be baptized in the Catholic Church and still be practicing the Catholic faith
- This must be the first marriage for both parties (otherwise a church annulment of any previous marriage(s) may be necessary)
- A couple must agree to participate in a pre-marriage workshop or counseling
All paperwork must be submitted to the Parish Life Coordinator at the time of your meeting with him. The required documents are listed below.
- Baptism Certificate A recent copy of one’s baptism certificate with notations is required for each baptized party. For Catholics, the copy must be dated within the past 6 months. These can be obtained by contacting the church of your baptism.
- First Communion and Confirmation Certificates It is required that each Catholic submit the dates and places where First Communion and Confirmation were received. If a Catholic has not yet received these sacraments, the priest will discuss possible ways of doing so before or after the wedding date.
- Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire The pre-nuptial questionnaire is completed by each party in the presence of the deacon or priest prior to the wedding day.
- Foccus Inventory This will be given to you at the time of your meeting with either the Wedding Coordinator or the Parish Life Coordinator. It is then returned to the Director of Family Life Ministries.
- Civil Marriage License It is necessary to obtain a civil marriage license prior to a church wedding. Once issued, the license is valid for ninety (90) days. The license should be submitted to the church office at least four weeks before your wedding day. The priest officiates for the State of California as well as for the Catholic Church. The priest and witnesses must sign the license after the wedding.
- Annulment Forms People who have been previously married are not free to marry in the Church without going through the Church process for dealing with previous marriages. Please speak with the priest or deacon about what process might be necessary under these circumstances.
- REMINDER: All documents are to be submitted to the parish office at least 4 weeks before the day of your wedding.
Marriage Preparation Options Both parties must participate in some approved form of pre-marriage instruction well before their scheduled wedding date. This is an opportunity to consider marriage and its many aspects from a Christian perspective. You may fulfill this requirement in one the following ways.
- Newman Center’s Marriage Preparation The Newman Center helps engaged couples fulfill the Diocese of Fresno marriage preparation requirements through a three step process. This includes a marriage preparation retreat day held at the Newman Center, completing a FOCCUS Inventory questionnaire and meeting with a Newman Center FOCCUS counselor, and meeting with a licensed marriage and family counselor associated with or approved by the Newman Center for a single session.
- Engaged Encounter Weekend This weekend retreat (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon), available throughout California in many dioceses, is scheduled monthly for approximately 30-40 couples. Reservations and a fee are required for participation. The priest, deacon or wedding coordinator can give you more information about this very rewarding weekend. If this option is chosen there is an additional cost.
- Pre-Marriage Counseling With A Licensed Counselor If you are unable (for a compelling reason) to participate in the Newman Center Marriage Preparation Workshop or Engaged Encounter Weekend the priest or deacon may arrange for you to participate in pre-marriage counseling through a licensed counselor associated with or approved by the Newman Center. There is a fee associated with this counseling for which you will be responsible. After completing your pre-marriage instruction, a certificate of completion is required and will be placed in your wedding file.
Sacrament of Reconciliation As a way of enhancing your own spiritual preparation for marriage, Catholics are invited to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) prior to their wedding. This is a wonderful opportunity to seek the Lord’s blessing upon your married life and to be reconciled to the Church through this special Sacrament.
Clergy You are free to ask any Catholic priest or deacon to officiate at your wedding. Clergy of other faiths may also participate in the marriage ceremony. Our parish priest or deacon will gladly make arrangements in this regard, if requested.
Wedding Coordinator The Newman Center employs a wedding coordinator. She will meet with you to discuss your wedding ceremony and to answer any questions you might have about the details of your ceremony. She will schedule a time for your rehearsal (usually the Friday before your wedding) and will be present on the day of your wedding to assist you. Wedding Coordinator: Mary Hill, 323-4600 or 304-8439
Director, Family Life Ministry Will assist you with pre-marriage preparation. Director, Family Life Ministry: John Prandini, 436-3434 Ext. 107
Music Coordinator Music is an important expression of our worship as Christians and should reflect the sacred nature of such worship. Care should be taken in making plans for your wedding music to ensure that it properly expresses the belief of the Christian community about marriage and love. Traditional hymns, classical pieces of music and even contemporary Christian songs are appropriate for a church wedding. Our organist or music director will help familiarize you with what is available in this regard. The following types of music are not permitted for church weddings:
- Secular love songs (movie themes, popular rock, top 40 hits, etc.) Please save this type of music for your reception
- Taped music, CDs and pre-recorded accompaniment
The Newman Center has an organist, Lynne Rodriguez, who is available for weddings. She is able to accompany singers and help you plan appropriate wedding music. We also welcome outside musicians (other than the organist) to participate in your wedding. Outside musicians must respect the integrity of our sanctuary setup and abide by our music policy. Please let us know of any plans you might have for outside musicians and/or singers. The fee for our organist as well as other musicians is negotiated and must be paid at least four weeks prior to your wedding date. Organist: Lynne Rodriguez, 299-7172; Pianist: Deborah McHenry Christiansen, 222-4695
Wedding and Rehearsal Times Couples planning marriage should first contact the parish. This must precede any scheduling of dates and times or plans for reception halls. The usual day for the celebration of marriage is Saturday, although another day of the week may be chosen as long as it does not interfere with scheduled parish activities. Marriages are not permitted on Sunday. The times for Saturday weddings are: 10am to 2pm, or 7pm. Rehearsals are scheduled on the Friday before the wedding. The wedding coordinator will confirm your rehearsal time.
Facilities We ask that care be taken with the treatment of our facilities. No furniture or decorations may be removed. If you have questions about this, please contact the wedding coordinator prior to your wedding.
The Ceremony There are two types of wedding ceremonies available to you.
- Nuptial Mass The Nuptial Mass is the normal setting for a marriage between two Catholics who are active in their worship. The Mass may also be a fitting way of celebrating the marriage between a Catholic and another baptized Christian who appreciates the beauty and dignity of the Nuptial Mass. The Nuptial Mass includes readings from the Scripture, the Marriage Rite and the reception of Holy Communion. The time frame for the Nuptial Mass is approximately one hour.
- Marriage Rite Outside Mass In the case of a Catholic and non-Catholic marriage where one or both parties may not be actively worshiping or where one party is non-Christian, the Marriage Rite outside Mass is encouraged. This ceremony includes readings from the Scripture followed by the Marriage Rite. It includes Communion. The time frame for this ceremony is approximately 30 - 35 minutes. Marriage rite outside mass with communion service is also available. The use of Scripture (Bible) readings and prayers may not be excluded from any wedding ceremony. While other secular readings/poetry may be incorporated into the ceremony, they cannot replace the use of the Scripture readings and/or prayers. You should speak with the Wedding Coordinator if you have questions about this.
Environment The sanctuary (altar area) is a sacred place which includes highly symbolic aspects of our Christian worship. The use of decorations (flowers, candles, etc.) may not cover or overshadow the altar or other sanctuary fixtures. During certain Church seasons (Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter), artwork already present in the sanctuary may not be removed. You are asked to be respectful in your own additions to the altar area. Again, church furniture may not be moved without the expressed permission of the facilities personnel or priest. Flowers may be used in the sanctuary and seating area of the church. These may be live or artificial. We do not permit strewing of flower petals or the use of flower arches. Florists should deliver flowers at a pre-arranged time. All flowers should be removed from the Church immediately after the ceremony. If you wish to donate your floral arrangements to the church, please let the wedding coordinator know. Candles are permitted in the sanctuary area only. If wax candles are used, plastic coverings must be placed beneath them on the floors. The use of a Unity Candle is appropriate during the ceremony. This is usually placed on the altar. Again, some covering for the altar should be in place under the candles. Handheld lighted candles are not permitted. A runner is permitted and should be secured in an appropriate manner. It should be 100 feet in length. Flower arrangements and/or bows may be secured on the aisle seats. The use of netting or anything which might obstruct one’s exit into the center aisle is not permitted. Please speak with our wedding coordinator about the best way to secure bows and the aisle runner. The use of a guest book prior to the ceremony is not permitted since this may delay the beginning of the ceremony. Your guest book can be made available at the reception.
Photography The wedding ceremony is a time of sacred worship and commands the respect of all participants. The use of photography, while an important aspect of our celebrations, must not detract from the reverence and meaning of the ceremony. Please observe the following guidelines in the use of photography: All photographers are to contact facility personnel upon arrival. Photographs may be taken up to 30 minutes before the beginning of the ceremony and up to 30 minutes after the ceremony. During the ceremony, photographers are not allowed into the altar area. Flash photography may be taken from the side aisles or back of the church only. The use of a video camera is permitted but must be placed in a permanent position either in the side aisles or chapel area. It must be used without the benefit of artificial lighting. Photographers are not to employ the Chapel as a ‘studio’ with excessive equipment and/or lighting. Please share this information with your photographer. The priest and/or wedding coordinator will answer any other questions that your photographer might have prior to the ceremony.
Other Considerations The church is a place of prayer and worship. Respectful behavior is mandatory at all times. Personal attire for both the rehearsal and ceremony is to be appropriate for a place of worship.
Punctuality Please observe punctuality for the time of the rehearsal and ceremony. The church must consider its own schedule.
Rice, confetti, bubbles or birdseed are not allowed. These are difficult to clean up, and can cause injury.
Smoking is permitted outside only.
Alcohol is not permitted anywhere on the premises. Persons under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted to participate in the ceremony and may be asked to leave the church premises.
Gum, food and drinks are not permitted in the Chapel area. Their use is limited to the cafeteria or outside. Please use trash receptacles to dispose of gum properly before the ceremony.
Clean-up All parties are asked to be responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Please designate persons to gather up personal belongings and wedding items after the ceremony. We are not responsible for lost articles. St. Paul Catholic Newman Center reserves the right to exclude someone from participating in a wedding for reasons of non-cooperation with these guidelines.
Use of church facilities and fees Because of the busy schedule of the parish, we ask that you honor the established time frame for conducting your rehearsal and wedding. One hour is allotted for a wedding rehearsal. The time frame for your rehearsal will be set by the wedding coordinator. All members of the wedding party should be punctual in this regard. Our facilities personnel will be available for a period up to five hours on the day of your wedding. They will open the Chapel two hours prior to the time of your wedding and will remain through your wedding and allotted time for photographs. The fees for these five hours of facilities personnel are included in the general fees for your wedding. All fees are payable four (4) weeks prior to your wedding date.
Total Fees: $700 which includes:
- Chapel Wedding: $550 (this fee includes the use of the Chapel for the rehearsal and wedding, use of the bridal room, and the marriage preparation process including the FOCCUS inventory, workshop and counseling, and stipend for priest or deacon)
- Wedding Coordinator: $150
- $50 to staff musician to monitor the sound system if an outside musician is used.
- Organist/musicians: by arrangement with the musicians
Reception The Newman Center has adequate facilities available for wedding receptions for up to, but not exceeding, 240 people.
Parish Life Coordinator: Deacon John Supino, 436-3434 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Marriage Preparation: John Prandini, Director of Family Life Ministry, email@example.com or 436-3434, Ext. 107
Engaged Encounter: 265-3365 or www.engagedencounter.org
Organist: Lynne Rodriguez, 299-7172
Wedding Coordinator: Mary Hill, 323-4600 or 304-8439
If you are interested in making wedding plans at the Newman Center, please contact Carol Kennedy at the parish office at 436-3434