Couples wishing to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage with Mass or Liturgy of the Word are asked to enter a process of preparation at least nine months in advance of their intended wedding date. The bride or groom or the parents of the bride or groom should be registered members of the Church of St. Stephen.
Couples must attend the FOCCUS Communication Inventory session.
Couples preparing for marriage must also attend a two-session Wedding Workshop.
Workshop I: Couples are provided in-depth information about the sacramental nature of marriage.
Workshop II: The Marriage Liturgy Worksheet, which helps couples prepare for the wedding celebration itself, will be distributed and explained. Options for readings, music, sample vows and sample programs will be shared.
In addition to a few appointments with a priest or deacon, attendance at an engaged couples retreat is required. Engaged couples are also paired with a married sponsor couple from the parish. The engaged couple will meet with the sponsor couple a number of times to discuss various aspects of married life.
The Sacrament of Marriage
The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament (Code of Canon Law, 1055).
Christians see the presence of God in the union of husband and wife. Human love between a man and a woman who marry stands as a symbol of God’s love for the human race and the human race’s love for God. That is why this sacred moment of marriage is celebrated within a community of believers. Each sacrament has its own sign or symbol. In marriage, the couple is the sign of the sacrament. “It is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1623).
The whole Church is also strengthened by the sacrament couples become: Jesus “himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage.” “It is by following Christ and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to ‘receive’ the meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1615).
Therefore the entire community, especially those in attendance at the wedding celebration itself, rejoices in the lifetime commitment that is made in the sacrament of marriage.
In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal Mystery of Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1621)
Interfaith marriages are welcome at the Church of St. Stephen and ministers from other faith traditions may be present and participate in the celebration of the sacrament. Most often interfaith marriages are celebrated within a Word Service. Musicians who are not Catholic are most welcome to assist parish cantors as well. If requested, the priests or deacons from St. Stephen’s will be glad to participate in a wedding at another church.
A marriage license may be obtained at any Minnesota County Court House. There is a seven-day waiting period after application, and a fee will be charged. The license is valid for six months from the date of issuance.
Catholics are required to obtain an original baptismal certificate from the church where they were baptized and dated within 6 months before the wedding. This can be done by simply calling that church. No fee will be required.
Non-catholics may bring in a photo copy of their original baptismal certificate. Certificates and photo copies are turned in to the priest or deacon presiding for the wedding celebration.
Weddings are scheduled at the following times:
The Church is available during the following times:
Weddings are not scheduled during Lent, Summerfest or Halloween weekend.
The Wedding Fee is $300.00. A gift of appreciation of not less than $150.00 for the priest or deacon is customary.
Fees for the engaged couples retreats are paid directly to the retreat organization and are separate from the church wedding fee.
Musicians set their own fees. Call them for more information. Click to learn more about wedding music at St. Stephen's.