SACRED HEART CATHOLIC CHURCH 1110 14th Street Bellingham, WA 98225 360-734-2850 Pastor Fr. Qui-Thac Nguyen: 734-2850 x 4; Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation and Liturgy Dr. Twila (Twi) McDonell: 734-2850 x 6; Pre-Marriage Enrichment Programs: Mike and Kay Gougeon: 671-6955 (FOCCUS Inventory) Seattle Catholic Engaged Encounter (Weekend Retreat) Register Online: Weekends fill up fast, so don’t delay. The earlier you complete your registration the better. Registrations are done on a first come, first served basis, Kathy St. Hilaire: 671-4836 (Natural Family Planning) – Wedding Coordinators Bridget Adams and Margaret Pierce Your wedding coordinator is assigned during the initial meeting with Dr. McDonell Liturgical Music Dr. Twila (Twi) McDonell – 734-2850 x 6

Pastoral Assistant for Administration Ruth Miller – 734-2850 x5

Our Goals: Our goals for the marriage preparation program at Sacred Heart Church are threefold. First, we want to heighten your awareness of the factors needed for a successful marriage. Second, we want to instill within you the importance of marriage in the Church, especially its sacramental dimension. Third, we want to help you understand the significance of your wedding in the Church. Please be assured that those involved in marriage preparation at Sacred Heart will do all they can to assist you during this special time. We pray that in the coming months, the Spirit of the Lord may guide you in the deepening of your love, in an increased understanding of one another, and in what it means to be married in Christ in the Church. Marriage in the Catholic Church: In the Catholic Church, marriage is a Sacrament. That is to say, it is a sign that tells us about God’s love for us, his human creation. God’s love is everlasting and faithful. It is reflected in God’s covenant with his people since the beginning of time right down to the present day. That covenant love has been extended to the union between a man and a woman in marriage. For Christians, Jesus Christ has raised the covenant of marriage to the dignity of a sacrament, because a marriage that lasts a lifetime and is full of love, is the best expression of God’s love for the human family.

Essential Elements for Marriage in the Catholic Church: The Church sets forth four basic elements to Marriage: 1. Marriage is a permanent covenant, a relationship bound by God’s love that lasts. It is a commitment on the part of the couple to share their lives together and to become one union. It is a relationship that invites Jesus Christ into their life to give grace and strengthen their marital union. 2. In marriage, a couple is committed to helping each other to be all they can be by sharing their gifts with one another and with the larger community. 3. In marriage, there is a faithful and exclusive relationship between a husband and wife, one that will last from the beginning of the relationship, through life, and until death. 4. A married couple is to remain open to children as the natural result of married life. Couples are called to acknowledge the gift of life from God by not interfering in the natural transmission of life, by accepting and raising children lovingly, and by instructing them and raising them in the faith. Couples are asked to attend three classes on Natural Family Planning. Selection of a Date and Time The date of your marriage can be tentatively set in your initial interview. However, it cannot be confirmed until the pre-marriage enrichment program has been substantially completed. Marriage ceremonies and Nuptial Masses are usually scheduled for Friday evenings between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. or on Saturday at either 1:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Weddings are not scheduled during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. Place of Marriage It is the policy of the Archdiocese of Seattle that Catholics be married in the Church, in a church building, and that a Catholic priest or deacon preside.

Clergy: The parish priest is the official witness and the ordinary celebrant of Nuptial Masses, and either he or the parish deacon presides at wedding ceremonies. A priest/deacon relative or friend of the couple may be able to preside with proper authorization and delegation. Such visiting clergy are asked to contact the parish as soon as possible to make necessary arrangements. Witnesses: Two witnesses are required to witness the consent between the bride and groom. They need not be Catholic, but they must be 18 years of age. Legal names must be submitted to your Wedding Coordinator one month prior to your wedding. Church Forms: The couple’s own statement regarding their desire, freedom, and commitment to marry (Form 29.1) as well as a statement of a witness (Form 29.2) must be completed and submitted to Sacred Heart a month before the wedding. Copies of Baptismal certificates for Catholic and non-Catholic baptized persons must be submitted to Sacred Heart one month before the wedding. Exceptions are for those who have been baptized at Sacred Heart. Marriage License: A marriage license must be obtained far enough in advance so that you can bring it to the parish office at least two weeks prior to the wedding date. The marriage license is obtained at the Whatcom County Auditor’s office. Their phone number is 676-6740. Photo ID is required. Note: Washington State law requires a three-day waiting period before the marriage license becomes valid. This means that you must wait at least three full days after the application is filed before the marriage ceremony can be performed. Please be sure to allow sufficient time before the date of your wedding to get your wedding license.

THE WEDDING CEREMONY Spiritual Preparation: Marriage in the Catholic Church is a Sacrament. Thus, it is a sacred event. It marks a new beginning in one’s life. Two lives become one! Couples are encouraged to make prayer an integral part of their preparation. Praying individually and as a couple will help to place Jesus at the center of your lives together. Pray and reflect especially over the readings you select for your wedding, and let the Word of God come to life in your relationship. Attending Mass faithfully and participating in the sacramental life of the Church is also essential for building and deepening one’s relationship with Jesus Christ. Catholic parties are encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) prior to the wedding. Having asked for forgiveness for the past and strength for the future, the bride and groom can begin a new life together by being spiritually uplifted and confident in God’s loving presence in their lives. Preparation for the Ceremony: Scripture Readings: Couples are asked to select scripture readings for the Liturgy of the Word. An Old Testament reading, a Responsorial Psalm, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading are to be selected from the readings for the Rite of Marriage, which will be given to you when you meet with the wedding coordinator. Family or friends who are fully initiated, active Catholics may read the Old and New Testament readings. The Psalm is sung by the Cantor. The Gospel reading is reserved to the priest or deacon. Music: Care should be taken in selecting the music appropriate to such a sacred event as a sacramental marriage. Music for Catholic worship is meant to enhance the quality of worship and to engage the assembly in song and praise of God. The sources of music are vast and you will need to contact Dr. Twila (Twi) McDonell, who can assist in selecting your music, especially for a Nuptial Mass. You will need to hire a cantor and an pianist/organist for the liturgical music at the Nuptial Liturgy or Nuptial Mass. Do not hire any outside musicians until meeting with Dr. McDonell. Outside musicians should provide their own microphones and music selection must be pre-approved by Dr. Twila (Twi) McDonell. The Worship Space of the Church The church seats approximately 350 persons. The aisle is 148 feet long. There are 16 pews on each side of the aisle, as well as seating in the choir loft.

We have no Dressing Room Facilities at the Church The wedding party, including the bride and groom, need to arrive dressed and ready to go. There are no facilities at the church for dressing. Flowers It is the responsibility of the wedding party to furnish flowers if they are desired. Please discuss floral arrangements with your Wedding Coordinator prior to placing your floral order. Large floral displays, hedges, arches, etc. are not in keeping with our worship space. In additions, flowers placed as part of the parish’s seasonal decorations should be respected. Candles The church uses candles as part of its liturgy, around the altar and the ambo. Other candles or candelabras may not be used unless drip less candles are used or a wax protective base is used. The unity candle is not to be used since it is an incomplete symbol of the couple’s wedding vows and has not been part of the Church’s liturgical tradition, nor is it a part of the Rite of Marriage. Runners For safety and practicality, a runner down the center aisle is not permitted. Other Decorations Please use common sense in preparation. Nails, tacks, sticky tape, glue, rice, confetti, and other things that are difficult or impossible to clean up cannot be used on church property. Please be respectful! This is a sacred place. Photography/Video Photography and videotaping is permitted if it does not interfere with the ceremony or the Mass. Those taking the photos or videos are not permitted in the sanctuary area.

General Church Protocol An attitude of respect and reverence is expected of all who enter the church, especially the sanctuary area. Eating, drinking, smoking, and loud talking are not permitted in the church. The wedding party is responsible for the behavior of their wedding guests. Consumption of alcoholic beverages by any of the wedding party prior to the ceremony or Mass, or by other family or friends on church property is not permitted. Please note: Consumption of alcohol by the bride or groom prior to the wedding is sufficient reason for the priest to NOT witness your marriage. NO Alcohol before the wedding. Clean up Your clean up crew should report to the Wedding Coordinator immediately following the ceremony for clean up instructions. The wedding party is responsible for all clean up of the church, both inside and outside. The church and all decorations must be returned as it was prior to the wedding.

FEES AND CHARGES The Sacrament of Marriage is your right as a Catholic. Use of the church is available to you as a registered and active member of Sacred Heart. However, there are costs involved in providing the programs offered in preparation for your wedding, for supplies, staff wages, and to maintain and clean the church building. Please contact Ruth Miller at the parish for more information. Wedding Checklist Immediately 1. Meeting with Fr. Qui-Thac Nguyen (360-734-2850 x 4) 2. Meet with Dr. Twila McDonell (360-734-2850 x 6) for 29-1 forms (bride and groom) and make arrangements for Best Man and Maid of Honor to meet with Dr. McDonell for 292 forms. At this meeting, Dr. McDonell will assign to you a wedding coordinator. You will need to contact them in order to schedule planning meeting(s) and set rehearsal time and date. It is encouraged that you call your wedding coordinator as soon as possible after this meeting. 3. Schedule your wedding music planning meeting with Dr. McDonell. (It should occur at least 3 months prior to the wedding) 4. Get Baptismal certificates and send to parish: Attention: Dr. McDonell. Note: Catholic baptismal certificates can be no older than 6 months old. Simply call the church of your baptism and request that they issue a baptismal certficiate with all the notations and send it to Dr. Twila McDonell. 5. Call Gougeons (360-671-6955) for FOCCUS Evaluation. 6. Get a date for Engaged Encounter. Engaged Encounter Certificate of Completion goes to the parish ( The certificate given to the couple upon completion goes to Dr. McDonell. 7. Call Kathy St. Hiliare (360-671-4836) for Natural Family Planning classes. (Note: the NFP classes once a month for a period of 3 months. Couples must call and schedule immediately) Three Months before 1. Witness forms completed at parish or completed and sent to parish. 2. Pay any money due for Church and for reception if held here. 3. Meet with Dr. Twila (Twi) McDonell for music preparation. One Month Before 1. Meet with Father Qui-Thac Nguyen 2. Get marriage license and bring to parish.

3. Finalize Rehearsal plans and other details with Wedding Coordinator. 4. Send Rough Draft of Wedding Program (if applicable) to Wedding Coordinator. 5. All paperwork must be completed and sent to parish including full legal names of your witnesses. One week before 1. Final planning document returned to Wedding Coordinator including procession order and seating arrangements and names of all liturgical ministers (ie readers, petitions, etc.)

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