Saint Bernadette's Parish

Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River

529 Eastern Avenue, Fall River, MA 02723 | 508.679.1991

Celebrating your Wedding at St. Bernadette Parish

Sacrament of MarriageCongratulations! Preparing for and celebrating a marriage is a joyful and graced time in the lives of men and women. The people and staff of Saint Bernadette Parish share your joy as you prepare for this important step in your lives. As a parish we promise you our love, support and understanding both now and in the future as well.

Registering For a Wedding Date:

Please call the parish to schedule an appointment to look at possible dates. We will be happy to help you with this, and will do our best to accommodate your preferences. We do not confirm or assign wedding dates in a phone conversation. We suggest that the church date and time be secured before placing a deposit on a reception hall. Generally Saturday weddings can be scheduled between 0:00AM and 0:00 PM or after 0:00 PM. Sunday weddings can be scheduled after 0:00 PM. Visiting clergy are always welcome to officiate at your wedding.

As soon as you have met with the priest and set your wedding date, contact XXX to schedule your wedding musicians and start the planning process. Return the planning forms to your musician(s) as soon as possible, but no less than six weeks prior to your wedding date.

Preparation Program:

Couples are asked to participate in a marriage preparation program, and the parish staff will be happy to assist you in finding a program.

Records you will need:

Baptism and Confirmation records (for Catholic participants) will be asked for, and a Marriage License must be obtained. The license can be applied for at any city of town hall in Massachusetts, and is valid for 60 days after it is obtained.

Planning Your Wedding:

The members of the Music Ministry at St. Bernadette’s Parish congratulate you on your upcoming wedding and wish to help make your celebration a memorable one. Not only is this an important event for your family and friends, it is also an important event in the life of the Parish community here at St. Bernadette’s.

As in any liturgical celebration, the music for your wedding should be chosen with great care. A wedding is, first and foremost, a worship service – worship and praise of God who calls a man and a woman together in marriage. Wedding music celebrates not only the human love between woman and man, but must celebrate the presence of God as well. Lyrics should be drawn chiefly from Holy Scripture and other liturgical sources. For this reason, popular music is not appropriate during a wedding liturgy. We use a wide variety of traditional and contemporary liturgical music to help you make your wedding uniquely your own.

Any member of our team will be happy to work with you to plan your liturgy and find the music that best expresses your taste while still reflecting the sacramental nature of the Catholic marriage service. We encourage you to seek input from your parents and other family members in planning your wedding music. The music list, below, contains some suggestions for your musical selections.

Complete and mail these forms to your musician(s) as soon as possible, but no later than six weeks prior to your wedding. These files are Adobe PDF format, and require Acrobat Reader, free from Adobe.

  1. Wedding Music Information
  2. Wedding Music Planner

Music Suggestions

Typically, music is used at the following parts of the Wedding Mass:

Seating of Guests – instrumental or vocal selections

Seating of the Parents
Ave Maria (Schubert)
Hail Mary Gentle Woman (Landry)
When Love Is Found (Haas)

Bridal Procession
Bridal Chorus (Wagner)
Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Prince of Denmark March (Purcell)

Gather Us Together (Alstott)
May Love Be Ours (Schutte)

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed the people (Ps 33) (Alstott)
Taste and See (Ps 34) (Dean)
The Lord Is Kind and Merciful (Ps 103) (Cotter)
This is the Day the Lord Has Made (Ps 118) (Joncas)
You Are All We Have (Ps 16) (O’Brien)

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia – Chant (various verses)
Alleluia – Open Our Hearts (Alstott)
Celtic Alleluia (O’Carroll/Walker) (various verses)
Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ (Alstott) (during Lent)

Hornpipe (Handel)
Ode to Joy (Beethoven)
Rondeau (Mouret)
Trumpet Tune (Purcell)
Wedding March (Mendelssohn)

Irish Blessing (Stookey)
May the Lord Bless You and Keep You (Meltz)

For a wedding ceremony outside of Mass, omit the following sections:

Hymn During Preparation of Gifts (“Offertory Hymns”)
All I Ask of You (Norbet)
Bridegroom and Bride (SLANE/arr. Haas/Cotter)
Center of My Life (Inwood)
How Great Thou Art (Traditional)
I Have Loved You (Joncas)
Prayer of St. Francis (Temple)
We Have Been Told (Haas)
Will You Come and Follow Me (Bell)

Eucharistic Acclamations
Heritage Mass (Alstott)
Mass of Creation (Haugen)
People’s Mass (Vermulst)
St. Louis Jesuits Mass (Dufford/Schutte)

Communion Hymns
Gift of Finest Wheat (Kreutz)
O Lord I Am Not Worthy (Traditional)
Panis Angelicus (Franck)
Seed, Scattered and Sown (Feiten)
Take and Eat (Joncas)
Taste and See (Moore)
The Irish Wedding Song (Traditional)
To Be Your Bread (Hass)

Meditation/Hymn of Praise
Bridegroom and Bride (SLANE/arr. Haas/Cotter)
For the Beauty of the Earth (Kocher)
How Great Thou Art (Traditional)
Will You Come and Follow Me (Bell)

In addition to the suggestions listed here, many of the hymns from Sunday liturgy are also appropriate for your wedding. Please feel free to ask us about using other music.

Other Items Often Asked:

Yes, photography, both video and still, are permitted. Also yes, you may provide flowers for the church. (We do not permit an Aisle Runner – White Carpet – as they are dangerous and unnecessary.) Yes, you may have your receiving line at the church.

Typical fees include: Church – $200, Altar Server – $20, Celebrant – at the discretion of the couple.

A qualified cantor and instrumentalist are required for all weddings. We recommend that you choose your musicians from the parish music ministry. The standard fee for each parish cantor is $150, and for each parish accompanist the fee is $150. Fees are paid directly to the musicians at least two weeks prior to your wedding date. If you choose to use non-parish musicians, the parish accompanist and/or cantor assigned to your wedding must each be paid a full bench fee of $150. We can refer other instrumentalists (trumpet, violin, flute, etc.) if you wish; their fees vary and you will contract with them separately.

If we have missed anything please do not hesitate to ask and allow us the opportunity to be of service.

The Sacrament of Matrimony

The Church has a rich tradition on sacramental marriage and covenantal union. The Old Testament authors write of God making a covenant with the chosen people and promising them that they will never be forsaken. The New Testament authors write of Jesus as the new covenant and compare the relationship of Jesus with the Church to the relationship of a husband and wife. The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership for the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.

Matrimony, or Marriage, like Holy Orders, is a sacrament that consecrates for a particular mission in building up the Church. It is seen as a sign of the love between Christ and the Church, which is established between spouses in a permanent and exclusive bond, sealed by God. The Sacrament gives couples the grace they need to attain holiness in their married life and for responsible acceptance and upbringing of their children.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Marriage (1659-1666):

St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church … This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:25, 32).

The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1).

The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).

Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.

Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its “supreme gift,” the child (GS 50 §1).

The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.