Dear Engaged Couple,
Stages of Marriage Preparation
Stage 1 - Meeting with the Marriage Preparation Coordinator
Have either of you been married before?
Stage 2 - Primary Marriage Preparation
Stage 3 - Meeting with the Director of Worship
Please contact and schedule a meeting with our Director of Worship, Brian Bacon at 817-421-1387 x4031 or . At this point in the preparation process, you are ready to plan the wedding ceremony. You will need to select readings, prayers, vows, music, and all the other details that will accompany the liturgical celebration at Good Shepherd Catholic Community. It is important to have this scheduled no later than three months prior to your wedding date.
Stage 4 - Follow-up Meeting with the Priest or Deacon
Stage 5 - Wedding Rehearsal
One hour is allotted for the wedding rehearsal usually on the evening before the wedding. The rehearsal time and date are scheduled when the wedding date is reserved.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Ecumenical or Interfaith Marriages
When one of the parties is not Catholic, both need to understand and respect the role the church plays in married life. And, we assure you at the same time of our respect for other religious traditions. In conversations with the marriage preparation coordinator, priest or deacon, Catholic belief and practice will be discussed, especially in relation to marriage. The Catholic partner will be asked to make a commitment to live out his/her Catholic faith personally and with the children born of that marriage. It is important, we believe, that everyone have an opportunity to be a member of God’s people through the Sacrament of Baptism. Therefore, the Catholic spouse is asked to promise not only to continue living out his/her commitment to the faith, but also to pass it on to their children by having the children baptized in the Catholic faith and by having them receive instruction in the Catholic religion. The non-Catholic partner will be asked to be trusting, open and understanding about Catholic faith and traditions. We welcome a minister of another faith tradition to participate in the wedding ceremony at Good Shepherd Catholic Community. A Protestant minister is invited to perform certain functions at a Catholic wedding. Your witnesses, Best Man and Maid of Honor, may also be persons of another faith tradition.
Marriage before a Priest or Deacon in a Catholic Church
Catholic couples may wish to choose either a Nuptial Mass or a Wedding Liturgy of the Word for their marriage. Most often Catholic couples celebrate their marriage at a Nuptial Mass with the priest presiding. This is very appropriate. A deacon may officiate or assist. In the case of an ecumenical or interfaith marriage, we recommend that the couple celebrate their marriage before a priest or a deacon at a Wedding Liturgy of the Word (without communion) rather than a Mass, so that both parties and their families feel fully included in the celebration. If the Nuptial Mass is chosen without any serious division for the couple and their families, the priest can invite ways for all present to participate with the exception of communion. However, this may not be a satisfactory option for all ecumenical or interfaith marriages.
Marriage before a Protestant Minister in a Protestant Church
In the case of an ecumenical marriage, the couple may celebrate their marriage before a Protestant Minister in a Protestant Church with or without the presence of a Catholic priest or deacon. If this would be important for you, be sure to talk about it early with the Director of Marriage Ministries. For a good reason, canonical permission can be requested/obtained and the Bishop of the Catholic diocese will provide you with the dispensation to allow for this. The Marriage will be recorded at Good Shepherd Catholic Community.
Visiting Clergy at Good Shepherd Catholic Community
If, for a good reason, a couple wishes to invite visiting clergy to officiate at their Wedding at Good Shepherd Catholic Community, they should ask the Director of Marriage Ministries here before making such arrangements. If the invitation of visiting clergy is acceptable to our diocese, the pastor of Good Shepherd Catholic Community will delegate him with the canonical permission to officiate here. And, if the visiting clergyman is also doing the pre-marital preparation with the couple, he will need to follow the marriage preparation guidelines of Good Shepherd Catholic Community. Visiting clergy are expected to follow the liturgical guidelines as set forth by Good Shepherd Catholic Community for any Nuptial Mass or Wedding Liturgy of the Word taking place here. The couple who invites visiting clergy to officiate at their Wedding is responsible for paying their expenses. You may also wish to give them a free-will offering.
Marriage in another Catholic Parish
If there is serious reason for a couple to be married in a parish other than their home parish of Good Shepherd Catholic Community, the pastor here must first give permission for the couple to be married at another parish and for the priest or deacon of the other parish to officiate at the wedding. The pre-marital preparation may be done here or at the other parish. Planning for the Wedding Liturgy with the pastor of the other parish is the responsibility of the couple.
Preparation at another Catholic Parish
When a couple lives at a distance away from their home parish of Good Shepherd Catholic Community, pre-marital preparation may be done at a Catholic Church near their residence. In such a case the Director of Marriage Ministries of Good Shepherd Catholic Community needs to be informed immediately so that she may forward to the couple a copy of our Wedding Preparation Manual. The necessary documents from the pastor of the other Catholic parish need to be sent in a timely fashion to the marriage coordinator of Good Shepherd Catholic Community before the wedding can take place here, at their home parish. Signing a contract, scheduling the wedding date and the rehearsal date as well as planning for the Wedding Liturgy is the responsibility of the couple.
Our diocesan guidelines call for non-practicing Catholics to receive special instruction in the Catholic faith and to be given the opportunity to return to the practice of the faith. Such a period of instruction in the faith may increase the time of preliminary marriage preparation.
In addition to a recent issue of a Baptismal Certificate (within the last 6 months), for the Catholic parties, the couple will need to obtain a Marriage License from any county courthouse in the State of Texas no more than 90 days prior and no less than 60 days before the Wedding date, to ensure timely processing.
Music in the Wedding Liturgy
Music for Weddings in the Catholic Church
- Wedding Music must conform to guidelines for liturgical sacramental celebrations. It is an integral part of the Liturgy and should promote an atmosphere of prayer. Sacred music is always the proper setting for the Wedding Liturgy. Arrangements for your music must be made with the Director of Music, to ensure proper selections.
- Each couple is required to attend planning sessions with the Director of Music.
- The Director of Music Ministries will complete with the couple a Wedding Liturgy Planning Sheet.
- It is the church’s policy that a parish musician must be present at all wedding liturgies. There is a fee charged for that service. The check should be made out to the musician, who will be assigned by the Director of Music. Outside musicians may perform only with the Director’s knowledge and approval, and must contact him at least one month in advance of the Wedding date.
- It is helpful if the cantor (vocalist) and/or accompanist is of the Catholic faith and is experienced at leading a Catholic liturgy.
Selecting Music for your Wedding Liturgy
- The music must be sacred and have lyrics which express a Christian view of love and life, i.e., not only the human love of one person for another but also God’s love for all people.
- The music should fit the part of the ceremony in which it is used and should not cause delays in the ceremony.
- Secular music (non-sacred or popular) should be kept for use at the reception only.
Guidelines for Music for the Wedding Liturgy
- Congregational singing is strongly encouraged.
- Specific parts of the Mass should be sung by the cantor and congregation: Psalm Response, Gospel Acclamation (“Alleluia”); Holy, Holy, Holy, Memorial Acclamation; Great Amen and Lamb of God.
- The Lord’s Prayer can only be sung as a solo if the Eucharist is not included in the ceremony.
- Recorded music of any kind is not allowed in the church.
Placement of Music at your Wedding Liturgy
- Preludes are appropriate as the guests are gathering and being seated to help them prepare for the communal celebration of the Wedding Liturgy. Instrumental music is encouraged (solo or ensemble) or suitable songs can be sung by a solo vocalist or a choir.
- If your Marriage is celebrated as a Wedding Liturgy of the Word (without communion), then after the Exchange of Vows and Rings, the Liturgy is concluded with the General Intercessions, Nuptial Blessing, Lord’s Prayer, Final Blessing and Recessional. If your Marriage is celebrated within the context of Mass, then your Wedding Liturgy continues with the Preparation of the Gifts and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
- Postludes are appropriate directly following the Recessional for a short period of time only to accompany guests leaving the church with a spirit of rejoicing in praise of God’s Blessing. Instrumental music is encouraged (solo or ensemble) or suitable songs can be sung by a solo vocalist or a choir.
Music during a Special Liturgical Season
The seasons of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) and Lent (the 40 days from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week) are penitential seasons in the worship calendar of the Catholic Church. Weddings are permitted, but discouraged during Advent and Lent due to the penitential nature of musical texts. The Alleluia is not sung during Lent.
Church policy requires that a parish Audio/Visual Technician be present at all events in the church. $75.00 is the fee charged for this service.