"For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, is a public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and wife speaks of family values and also God’s values.
Congratulations on your engagement! The goal of our parish is to help enrich the couple’s relationship with one another and with the Church.
To schedule a wedding, couples are required to:
- Obtain a new certificate of baptism and provide copies of their First Communion and/or Confirmation certificate
- The bride or groom should make an appointment with one of our priests at least six months in advance. To make an appointment with a priest to discuss available dates and to obtain guidelines, call Jacqui in the Parish Office at (559) 299-4270. At this appointment, you may place a non-refundable deposit of $200.00 to secure your wedding date.
- Attend a marriage preparation session. Evenings of the Engaged offers enrichment and helps couples prepare for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Sessions are scheduled by the presenters and usually are offered over several weeks. Sign up in the parish office. Our Lady of Perpetual Help marriage preparation classes are available to those couples who are receiving the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish.
FAQs about weddings…
Q. Why do we need a new certificate of baptism?
A. Whenever a Catholic receives the sacraments of Confirmation, Marriage or Religious Profession, that information is sent back to the church of Baptism to be recorded in their sacramental record books. This offers a double recording in case of the loss of records in one of the parishes. When preparing a new baptismal certificate, they will include “notations” on the back of the certificate indicating what other sacraments they have listed for you. Obviously, when you were baptized, those other sacraments had not yet occurred. Specifically, we need to make sure there are no notations in regards to previous marriage in the church.
Q. What if I was baptized in another country?
A. The laws of the Catholic Church regarding the recording of sacraments are the same throughout the world. We have a directory of churches throughout the world and can provide addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers to help you in your request. Usually, it takes a little longer to receive the information so be sure to allow sufficient time for mailing when scheduling your appointment. The fact that someone was baptized in another country is not an exemption of this requirement.
Q. Can a Catholic marry a non-Catholic in a Catholic Church ceremony?
A. Yes, provided there are no impediments (previous marriages, etc.). This should be discussed when you meet with the priest.
Q. Can we still have a church ceremony if we’re married in a non-Catholic or civil ceremony?
A. Because the Catholic Church does not deny the existence of a civil marriage, a blessing ceremony in the Catholic Church is possible. However, a formal church wedding ceremony is not appropriate because the Church does not want to give the appearance that a “new” marriage is taking place. This Church blessing is officially called a Convalidation. Although it is not a formal ceremony, it is very special nonetheless. The ceremony consists of a reading, homily, renewal of vows and blessing of rings. You will need to select two people to act as witnesses and you may invite other family members to be present. Convalidations are held in the Chapel, which seats up to 25 people.