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Mystery of Crowning
 The Mystery of Crowning (The Sacrament of Marriage) The pastor of a parish is the father of his spiritual family and has great responsibilities toward his spiritual children, thus, the term “Father” (Abouna). Among his many duties, he is to remind the engaged couple that their spiritual responsibilities, are just as equal as their temporal ones, and must play a major role in their life as a couple. The couple must meet with the pastor for their wedding plans. Arrangements for Marriage must be made in advance. Some cases may require up to one year depending on the circumstances. At this meeting, the pastor will determine if both parties are able to have the Mystery of Crowning (Sacrament of Marriage) celebrated in the Catholic Church. Based on the given information, he will also determine if they are eligible to be married in the parish. The parties must be (or at least one of them) registered parishioners. This basically shows that they have the intention of being a part of the local “Family of Faith.” Through parish registration, parishioners have the privilege of receiving all of the spiritual benefits offered by the Church through their parish priest. Of those, the most important, of course, is the reception of the Mysteries (Sacraments). On the other hand, a registered parishioner is also bound by certain other obligations: attending the Qurbono (Mass) at the parish church on a regular basis, thereby contributing to the spiritual bond which ties the parish family together, and using the weekly offering envelopes thereby contributing to the temporal responsibilities of the parish. If the priest sees that the couple is able to be married in the parish church then a tentative wedding date can be established. The date is tentative because it depends upon the fulfillment of all of the marriage requirements listed below: • Bride and Groom to be must present an original Certificate of Baptism. This certificate cannot be more than six months old and can easily be obtained by contacting the church of baptism. • If one of them is not a member of the parish, a letter from his/her parish priest must be presented stating that he/she has never been married. If the party is unknown to the parish priest, then two witnesses, who have known the party for several years, must sign affidavits before the priest that the party has never been married before, either in a Catholic ceremony, another church ceremony, or by the civil authorities. • The couple must attend together the Pre-Cana Preparation classes, or other equivalent marriage preparation classes, required by the Church. • A civil marriage license from the civil authorities must be given to the priest at least seven days prior to the celebration of the marriage. The Catholic Church prescribes that the celebration of the Sacrament is to be celebrated in a sacred place, i.e., the parish church (not in a private home, reception hall, garden, etc.). Marriages are usually celebrated on Saturdays and Sundays, but arrangements for weekday Marriages can also be made with the pastor. It is customary that an appropriate donation, according to the means of the couple, be made to the parish church and a stipend given to the priest who celebrates the Marriage. Other Important policies: • The Dress Code of the bride and her bridesmaids must be modest and respectable. No bare shoulders, low cuts or plunging necklines are permitted. The church sacredness must be respected. • The Wedding music must be liturgical. Hymns used by the Roman Catholic Church are acceptable and must be approved by the Pastor. However, pop music and movie themes are not permitted in the Maronite Marriage ceremony. • Flowers for the church should be appropriately placed in consultation with the Pastor. • Rose petals, Balloons, bubbles, confetti, rice, unity candles and anything else that detract from the sacredness of the Sacrament are not permitted inside the church. • The bride and groom must be on time for the celebration of their wedding. In consideration of practical circumstances and as a matter of courtesy, the priest and the guests should not have to wait more than 10 minutes for them to arrive. Due to the parish Mass schedule latest time a wedding can be scheduled on Saturday is 3:00 pm. • Marriages are never celebrated during Lent, unless there is a very serious reason to do so. • Photographers and videographers are to observe the Eparchial policy. They must contact the pastor one week prior to the wedding ceremony for service guidelines. • Musicians, Soloists/choir for the wedding ceremony must be approved by the pastor. The parish does provide an organist/soloist for your ceremony if you wish, their fee is $150.00. Marriages Oversees An Affidavit of Freedom to Marry is Needed Parishioners who plan to get married outside the United States of America, and need a testimonial for Free State to Marry, must contact the Pastor six (6) months before they travel. The reason being is because the Affidavit of Freedom to marry must be obtained from the Office of the Bishop in Brooklyn, New York. It is hoped that this projected period will allow enough time for the approval to return from the Office of the Bishop, in New York.