Marriage: A Celebration for the Whole Church
Like the children of Israel of old, whenever the people of God gather in prayer as the Church, we celebrate our election, our adoption, into the Body of Christ. We bear witness to the communal nature of this family we call "the Church, the Body of Christ" every time we come together for our public worship. Indeed, all of the sacraments are celebrated most poignantly when they are prayed in the context of a communal celebration. On the local level, this public prayer and worship of the universal Church is realized in the parish community. Since every sacrament is a participation in the prayer of the entire Body of Christ, a wedding celebration that focuses on those receiving the sacrament alone would somehow fall short of its full meaning as a celebration of the entire people of God.
Thus, the exchange of wedding vows is a visible sign of God's presence and love in the world in general and the parish community in particular, and the creation of a new family within this worldwide body. As the couple vow to each other, the local community promises to be there for the couple and each other in times of joy and in times of need. Thus, a commitment is made not only between the woman and the man, but also between the couple and the Church, and the Church with her members.
- The couple wishing to marry must secure a presider.
- Marriage preparation: The couple is to consult the officiating priest to determine which form of marriage preparation will be most helpful to them:
-A prep course
A certificate of completion must be submitted and kept with the couple's marriage record at the university.
- Marriage license. This is obtained at the Marriage License Bureau, 500 Indiana Ave., NW, Room 4485; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, (202) 879-4840. The license is valid for one (1) month and requires a five (5) day waiting period after the application has been filed and payment of fee.
- Baptismal Certificates. Each baptized person being married must present an official copy of his/her baptismal record for inclusion in the records. For Catholics, this means obtaining an official copy of your certificate issued within six months of the wedding. For non-Catholics, any permanent copy of your baptismal record will suffice. These documents become part of the church record and cannot be returned.
- Freedom to Marry Forms. Each party is given a copy of a form to be completed by a priest, who questions a parent, relative or close acquaintance regarding the parties' freedom to marry.
Questions about marriage and other sacraments can be directed to the Office of Campus Ministry.