Your wedding is extremely important to both you (the bride and groom) and to us (St. Joan of Arc Parish). As you deserve the very best, Christ and His Church command that we celebrate Matrimony reverently, tastefully, and in accord with canon law. Christian marriage is not merely a romantic and social event, it is above all else, a Sacrament of the Catholic Church. Consequently, we will ONLY celebrate a wedding ceremony in accord with the universal law of the Church and the policy of the Diocese of Harrisburg. The Nuptial Liturgy, whether it is with Holy Mass or the ceremony by itself, will be celebrated in this way.
The following are NON-NEGOTIABLE regulations for all weddings at St. Joan of Arc Parish:
1. At least one person, (bride or groom) if not both, must be a baptized Catholic who is either a registered parishioner or lives within our parish territory. Catholics from other parishes must secure a letter of permission from their respective pastor to allow a marriage in our church.
2. It is NOT necessary that both the bride & groom be Catholic NOR is it required that the non-Catholic party convert. The Catholic party must promise, however, to raise any children to be born of this union in the Catholic faith. The non-Catholic party is to be informed of this and is highly encouraged to continue practicing his/her own faith.
3. If either person has been married previously, an annulment will need to be obtained before a wedding can proceed.
4. The Catholic party is highly encouraged to make spiritual preparation for the worthy celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony by making a good confession sometime the week before the wedding, especially, if they have not been to Mass regularly or are not in the state of grace.
5. The Diocese of Harrisburg requires that the couple make preparations with the parish at least 9 – 12 months prior to the wedding. Furthermore, all couples are required to take part in our Parish Mentoring program or Engaged Encounter before their wedding. You can learn more about that here
The Wedding Ceremony is the solemn celebration of the mutual consent of a man and woman to become husband and wife. This permanent, faithful and God-willing fruitful union is done in the presence of God and His ordained minister, the Priest or Deacon.
The following regulations are applicable for any and all weddings performed in the parish of St. Joan of Arc. Please read them carefully and thoroughly.
1. Weddings begin at 11:00 am & 2:00 pm on Saturday. Rehearsals take place on Fridays - 5:00pm for weddings at 11 & 6:00pm for weddings at 2.
2. All music, no matter who is playing it, must be approved by our Music Coordinator. The Diocesan Guidelines for music at liturgical celebrations will be followed at all times. (Liturgical Norms can be found here)
3. Holy Communion can only be given to practicing Catholics. Hence, in ecumenical weddings to prevent misunderstandings, hurt feelings and embarrassment, we highly suggest that the Catholic Wedding Ceremony Outside of Mass be celebrated. This is most appropriate if a non-Catholic minister is taking part in the service.
4. NO rose/flower petals may be thrown on the floor of the church and NO rose/flower petals or rice or confetti or bird seed may be thrown outside. ONLY balloons, bells, bubbles, whistles, live butterflies are permitted to be used outside.
5. Photographers and videographers are welcome in our church, however, they are not permitted to come anywhere in the sanctuary for pictures during the service.
6. You may come into the Church for pictures or set up one hour before the service and you must vacate the church by 1:00 pm or 4:00 pm depending on the start time of your wedding.
7. No flowers or decorations are to be placed on the altar. They can be placed in front or near to it.
8. Reverence for the House of God is expected while in the Church. Hence, NO alcohol, drugs, food, beverages of any kind, as well as, NO smoking or any vulgar language or rude behavior will be tolerated in the Church. Please inform members of the bridal party that anyone not complying with these restrictions will be asked to leave the Church immediately.
If the bride or groom is under the influence of alcohol or drugs on the day of the wedding, it WILL BE CANCELED IMMEDIATELY!
Sadly, abuses have compelled us to emphasize the common sense and good manners that we already should be practicing.