Weddings at St. Ignatius Church, Chapel Point
St. Ignatius Church is a beautiful historical church, situated on a hill with a magnificent vista overlooking the Port Tobacco River. It is also the worship space of an active Catholic parish. The primary use of the church for weddings is, of course, for members of this parish. If you are from another Catholic parish and would like to be married here, that may be possible with the permission and cooperation of the parish in which you are an active member. Normally that parish would do whatever preparation s required and submit the file to us in a timely manner.
We must decline any requests for other weddings in the church building or on our grounds. Not only are we bound by canon law, we are bound by state law which authorizes ministers of religion to “join together in matrimony according the rules and ceremonies of your church, society or religious sect…” As Catholics priests, both church and state limit us to perform Catholic wedding ceremonies. That means that one or both of the partners must be Catholic and both must be free to marry and willing to commit themselves to faithful life-long marriage.
In order to allow couples sufficient time to consider the seriousness of their commitment and to prepare for marriage the Archdiocese of Washington requires a six month waiting period. Please contact the parish as soon as you become engaged, so that we can help you with questions and preparation.
While a priest or deacon presides or officiates at the ceremony, we, as Catholics, believe that the sacrament itself is brought about by the couple themselves. As the Catechism says:
In the Latin Church, 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 #1623)
That consent which confers the sacrament must be for a life-long and faithful marriage entered into freely. While this may seem to be a legalistic or theological argument, it is an affirmation of you, your loving commitment and your importance in the Church.
While there are many details to arrange for a wedding, the serious preparation is for the life of marriage. Some apparent hurdles are intended to develop your relationship such that you can confidently proclaim that that you are ready and committed to living your lives together as one. Even the best planned ceremony will have a glitch or two so preparation for the perfect day should not distract from preparation for living out that commitment.
Some of the things that you might find burdensome or petty are intended to make life together more fruitful and prepare you for the bumps in the road.
• You will take an attitudinal survey. It is not intended to tell you whether you are compatible, but rather what areas you should discuss more extensively as you prepare for marriage.
• You will take part in an approved formal marriage preparation program, which should provide you perspectives of those who have had good marriages and enhance your communication.
• You will have a formal interview with a priest or deacon inquiring about your freedom to marry and your intentions. This provides the support and context for your exchanges of vows. This ideally would occur in your own parish.
Since there will also likely be some practical details you may need to attend to such as reception and honeymoon plans, please be sure to begin the preparation for marriage early enough that you will be able to have time to work on the details of the wedding.