Weddings are special and joyful times for brides and grooms, for their families and friends, and for the parish community. The new beginning, the love, the promise and the hope that weddings bring makes their celebration a special and grace-filled time in our lives. The Church welcomes its members to celebrate and solemnize their weddings in the context of our prayer as Christians. Indeed, so important is marriage in Christian life that it is called a sacrament.
Great care is taken to see that the prayer for this special moment is reverent, graceful, beautiful, and open to the movement of God’s Spirit among us. Our celebration of the sacraments, marriage included, is always rooted in Scripture so that we can be nourished and strengthened by God's Word. Always, we celebrate the sacraments as a community. We gather our brothers and sisters in faith and ask for their prayerful support. These celebrations are incomplete unless they are filled with song, with prayerful gestures, and with the silence in which we hear the voice of God.
Special note is taken of those Catholics who are planning to marry someone of another religious tradition. The Church wishes to ensure that both spouses recognize the importance and obligations of an inter-religious marriage and God's Providence in this life-long commitment.
Who May Marry in the Cathedral?
The answer to this question is governed, in part, by the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church. Generally speaking, members of our parish may celebrate their wedding at Saint Matthew’s Cathedral. Roman Catholics who live within the bounds of the parish but have no formal relationship with the parish community may speak to one of our clergy about establishing a relationship with the parish if thinking of celebrating a wedding in the future. Former members of the parish need to speak both to their present pastor and to one of St. Matthew’s priests or deacons if they wish to celebrate their marriage at the Cathedral. Other persons need to discuss their specific circumstances with one of our priests.
Scheduling the Wedding
Couples are expected to contact a member of the parish staff at least nine (9) months in advance of the date on which they hope to celebrate their wedding. The purpose of this period is to actively involve the couple in the process through which they can judge not only their own readiness to marry, but also their ability to communicate on vital issues. With so many requests for weddings at the Cathedral, couples who wish to change/cancel the date and/or time of their rehearsal/wedding must call the rectory as soon as possible and convey that information to the responsible clergyman.
Only the clergy of St. Matthew’s may book the date for the celebration of a wedding. Dates will be booked only after there has been a sufficient opportunity to meet with the couple, to take care of the necessary paperwork and to arrange for their participation in a marriage preparation program. It is the responsibility of the engaged couple to secure the date with the Cathedral before making commitments with caterers, reception halls, etc.
Preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage
At the Cathedral, preparation for marriage consists of these principal components over a six- (6-) month period: 1) completion of the pre-nuptial questionnaire; 2) a pre-marital inventory survey; 3) discussion sessions with one of the parish priests or deacons; and 4) attendance at a recognized Catholic engaged encounter session. These are arranged with the assistance of the parish staff and clergy.
Sacrament preparation also is available to those parishioners who may be arranging to have their wedding celebrated in another parish church, such as one in their hometown.
For more information
Call the rectory office at 202-347-3215 to make arrangements with the clergy, and for details about scheduling, documentation, and other logistical matters.