Making Wedding Arrangements at Holy Spirit Church

Some helpful links to make your wedding planning easier!

Direction cards for Holy Spirit Church
(in PDF Format)
Look at readings for your wedding
(PDF Format)




For those of you who are planning to celebrate the sacrament of marriage at Holy Spirit parish, we hope the following information will be of use to you. Needless to say, the first order of business will be to make an appointment with one of the priests of the parish so that we can set a wedding date. Generally speaking, weddings take place in our Church on Friday afternoon or evenings, on Saturdays no earlier than 10:30 a.m. and no later than 3:00 p.m. and on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. At this meeting, the priest will help you to settle upon an appropriate time for the celebration of your marriage.

Your wedding is very important to us at Unlike all the other people who are involved in the preparation for your special day (the photographer, the band, the caterer, the florist), we at Holy Spirit parish are concerned not only about your wedding day but about your future life together. We support you in your life-long love and commitment, and we wish to celebrate the beauty of that love in a way that builds up the community of the Church. Your sacramental commitment is important to us; in your beautiful act of commitment, we see the very face of God who is love.

The priests and staff of our parish community would like to extend you whatever help we can offer to make this time free from stress and anxiety. More importantly, we offer both of you our loving encouragement and prayerful support to those who begin their journey together as husband and wife.

Documents you will need

1. Baptismal Certificate: All Catholics being married in the Church are asked to produce an updated Baptismal Certificate that has been recently issued from the Church of Baptism (that is, within the past six months). Your Church of Baptism has a record of your entire sacramental history (including previous valid marriages if there were any). We ask you to ask for a recently issued baptismal certificate because it provides an official proof that you are presently free to be married in the Catholic Church.
Please contact the Church where you were baptized, giving them your name and date of birth, and they will send you an updated certificate. An original baptismal certificate (or photocopy) suffices for those who were baptized in a non-Catholic Christian Church.

2. Letter of Freedom: If one of the Catholic parties is not a member of Holy Spirit parish, you are required to obtain from your home parish a letter of freedom which states that the banns of marriage will be published in that particular church. In addition, if either party is under 21 years of age, a letter of parental consent is required.

3. Special Situations: In certain special situations, other documentation will be necessary. These situations include: pregnancy, a previous marriage, or the death of a former spouse. The priest will gladly explain what documentation is needed in these special cases.

4. The Marriage License: Before you are married, it is necessary for the two of you to obtain a marriage license from the State of New York. The marriage license must be used within a sixty day period from the time it is issued to you. Most couples find it convenient to obtain their license about a month prior to their wedding. The license may be obtained at any town or city hall in New York State (t cannot be obtained at a village hall, e.g., New Hyde Park). Town Hall of the Town of Hempstead is located on the corner of Washington Street and Front Street in the village of Hempstead. Town Hall of the Town of North Hempstead is located on Plandome Road in the village of Manhasset. It is no longer necessary to have a blood test prior to obtaining a marriage license in New York State. You will be asked to provide some form of identification; a driver's license suffices for ID.
We ask you to bring the license to us at the wedding rehearsal. After the wedding, the priest or deacon will send the license back to the town or city clerk's office who will then send you a certificate of marriage three to four weeks after your marriage.

Marriage Preparation Program

Obviously, this is a time in your life when so much is happening. The preparations that go into planning this big event can be so overwhelming and time-consuming; as a result, your own relationship as a couple can easily gets lost in the shuffle. Your wedding is a single day -- your marriage is a lifetime. Therefore, we have structured this time into your engagement, a time for reflecting, for listening, for sharing -- in short, a time to put your relationship ahead of any other concern. Other couples who have experienced our marriage preparation program have told us that this program was very helpful for them. We hope to be able to serve you in the same way.

Our marriage preparation program (sometimes referred to as Pre-Cana) begins with a process called FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study). FOCCUS provides each couple with a survey-type instrument followed by a confidential feedback which will help the couple Afocus@ on various issues throughout this time of their engagement. Please be assured that this is not some kind of a test; the results of this survey are given to you alone to help you in your future discussions.

The second part of marriage preparation is an Ain-home@ program which takes place on three consecutive Sunday evenings in the homes of our married team couples. In this discussion-like format, various issues are talked about: communication, decision making, sexuality, spirituality, etc. At our last session, we gather together at Holy Spirit Church for a special closing Mass.

One of our married team couples will contact you in the immediate future both to answer your questions and to initiate your marriage preparation process.

The Celebration of Your Wedding

Your wedding is a special event for the two of you; it is also a wonderful opportunity for all who will gather to be touched by God who has brought the two of you together. We at Holy Spirit Church are committed to celebrate your special day in a way which is both meaningful to you and spiritually uplifting to all who are present.

1. Mass or a Ceremony -- What's the difference?The celebration of your wedding can take place either within a Mass or within a ceremony. A wedding ceremony fundamentally consists of two parts:
-- Liturgy of the Word (readings from the Bible
-- The Rite of Marriage (exchange of vows, rings, special blessings and other options)

A Wedding Mass (also called a Nuptial Mass) consists of three parts:
-- Liturgy of the Word
-- Rite of Marriage
-- Liturgy of the Eucharist (Preparation of the gifts, Eucharistic Prayer, Holy Communion)

A wedding ceremony is approximately 30 - 35 minutes in length; a wedding Mass is approximately an hour in length. In your considerations which will lead you to decide whether you want a wedding Mass or a wedding ceremony, please be honest and ask yourself if the Mass, at present, does play an important part in your own spirituality. Also, consider your invited guests: are a majority of them Catholic or non-Catholic? Would most of your guests participate in the prayers and responses of the Mass? Ultimately, it is your decision to shape this event in such a way that all may be able to enter into the celebration prayerfully and reverently.

2. Various options for your celebration:The celebration of your marriage is not only the moment when a bride and groom administer the sacrament of love to one another, it is also the opportunity for all present to experience a real and living sign of how much God loves us all. Your guests who are present in your Church on your special day can experience the most profound example of what God is all about; for God is love, and the clearest manifestation of love occurs when two people promise to cherish each other for the rest of their lives. As ministers of this sacrament, you are creating a special moment that will help others believe in the power of love, the power of God who renews all things.

We will help you to create a beautiful celebration that can uplift and renew all who will attend. When you attend our marriage preparation program, you will receive a book entitled Together for Life. This book will help you select the Bible readings for your liturgy. It will also offer choices for the various prayers and blessings that take place at your wedding.

In addition, there are various options for your wedding ceremony that will be discussed during the final pre-Cana session. You may already be familiar with many of these options (for example, the lighting of the unity candle or the presentation of roses to the parents at the sign of peace). We will be very happy to see how we might incorporate these options into your ceremony.

3. Wedding Music Our organist, Mary Bolan, will help you with the selection of appropriate songs and hymns for your wedding. We ask you to contact Mary about six to eight weeks before the wedding so that he can help you with the selection of songs and hymns.

4. Professional photographers:We ask that those who will be taking pictures at your wedding (still and video) see the priest before the ceremony begins. Please consider the fact that the use of artificial lighting can be a source of distraction for you and your guests. We urge you to ask your photographers not to take away from the solemnity of your wedding celebration. If you contract a videographer, please make sure to inform her/him of our policy that floodlights are not permitted.

5. Flowers and runners:Altar flowers, pew-bows and center-aisle runners are not provided by Holy Spirit Church. Arrangements for these items must be made through the florist and limousine company. If there is more than one wedding on a given day, the bride may wish to contact other parties to share the expense of flowers.

6. Your Bridal Party:The members of your wedding party serve a very important purpose in setting a tone for your celebration. It is our hope that the people whom you select will maintain a prayerful dignity throughout your celebration. No one in your wedding party should consume alcoholic beverages before the ceremony that day. Toddlers and young children may feel intimidated in walking down the aisle of a Church in the bridal procession. While little children are always cute, they may, in fact, detract from your wedding celebration.

7. Visiting clergy. We are very happy to accommodate a visiting priest or deacon who wishes to officiate at your wedding. Visiting clergy need to write a letter to the pastors of Holy Spirit requesting delegation to perform the wedding.

8. The Wedding Rehearsal:The rehearsal date and time is scheduled by the priest or deacon when you have your final meeting with him prior to your marriage. The rehearsal lasts about a half-hour in duration. We ask bridal parties to be on time in case there are multiple rehearsals. At the rehearsal, we ask you to bring the following items which have been referred to above:
-- Selection sheet of readings and prayers from the book Together for Life.
-- Wedding License
-- Unity candle to be used in your celebration
-- Church offering ($300)
-- Fee for the organist ($100) and, if requested, the singer ($100)

For more information or for further questions regarding marriage preparation, please contact the rectory office at 516-354-0359.

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