Home » Sacraments » Marriage


​Unlike the common, everyday civil marriage, the aspect of covenant and sacrament will play a key role. A covenant is a serious and permanent commitment, and there are programs in place to help you and your intended spouse begin to learn about “what it takes,” to be married. Meetings with your pastor are required to discuss the various aspects of your wedding ceremony.

We ask that all arrangements for the celebration of the sacrament of marriage be made in person at least six months prior to the wedding date. For additional information, the engaged couple should call and make an appointment to speak with the pastor.

For more information regarding a Catholic marriage at St. Bartholomew Parish, refer to the marriage guidelines below.

Guidelines for the Sacrament of Marriage

​The celebration of your marriage is important to you and to St. Bartholomew Parish. The following information and guidelines are intended to help you prepare for the celebration of the sacrament of marriage in St. Bartholomew Church.

Initial Appointment​Preparations for your marriage begin by contacting the priest at St. Bartholomew Parish for an appointment at least six months before the proposed marriage date. During this interview, the whole preparation process will be explained, your initial questions will be answered, the freedom of both parties to enter into marriage will be determined.
Marriage Preparation​It is a requirement of the Catholic Church that every couple preparing for marriage must receive proper preparation and instruction prior to the marriage. This requirement may be fulfilled by attending an Engaged Encounter Weekend or by enrolling in the Couple-to-Couple Marriage Program. In addition to one of the above, there will be appointments with the priest to discuss other aspects of your marriage, to complete the necessary pre-marriage forms and to plan the marriage liturgy.
Times of Marriage Liturgy​Marriages are usually celebrated on Saturdays, one marriage per Saturday, and the marriage liturgy will begin no later than 1:30 p.m. Since the sacrament of reconciliation begins at 4:00 p.m., all attending the wedding must vacate the church by 3:30 p.m. Weddings during Lent are not permitted.
Marriage within Mass or Outside of Mass​Each couple has the choice of being married within Mass or outside of Mass. Marriage within Mass is the celebration of Mass, like on Sundays, with the rite of marriage taking place after the homily; the celebration culminates in Holy Communion, receiving the body and blood of Christ. Marriage outside of Mass consists of the introductory rites, the liturgy of the word, the rite of marriage, the blessing and dismissal. The major difference between the two is the liturgy of the Eucharist with Holy Communion; marriage outside of Mass does not include the liturgy of the Eucharist and Holy Communion.For interfaith marriages, a special dispensations must be requested from the Bishop of Greensburg. Therefore, often in interfaith marriages, the celebration outside of Mass is the better option.
Baptismal Record​All baptized persons contemplating marriage must present copies of their baptismal record. The baptismal certificate of a party who is not Catholic may be the original or a recent copy. The Catholic party’s baptismal certificate must be a recent copy, dated within six months of the proposed marriage date.If you were baptized at St. Bartholomew Church, the necessary information is recorded here and the priest will get that information himself. If you were baptized elsewhere, you will have to contact the church of baptism and request that a baptism certificate be sent to you or to St. Bartholomew ChurchAll sacramental records for former parishioners of the former St. Mary Parish, Forbes Road, are located at St. Bartholomew Church, Crabtree, and all sacramental records for former parishioners of the former St. Bede Parish, Bovard, are located at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg.
Participation of Other Catholic Priests​Other Catholic priests who may be friends of the couple are most welcome to concelebrate the marriage Mass or participate in the rite of marriage outside of Mass with the pastor of St. Bartholomew Church. Catholic priests who are relatives of the bride or groom are most welcome to celebrate the Mass and/or officiate at the rite of marriage. If you wish to invite another priest, who is a relative or a friend, please inform the pastor as soon as possible, and he will discuss with you the details and the proper procedure for inviting the priest.
Interfaith Marriages in Other Churches​For a valid marriage, a Catholic is required to be married in the presence of a priest and two witnesses. In the case of an interfaith marriage and with sufficiently good reasons, the Catholic bishop may grant a dispensation that allows a Catholic to enter into a valid marriage that is celebrated in a non-Catholic Church without a priest present.All other requirements of the Catholic Church must be followed and met, the required marriage preparation must be completed, and the necessary forms and some additional information and forms must be filled out and submitted to the bishop. Once the dispensation is granted, the marriage may be celebrated in the non-Catholic church.
Music & Vocalists​Although Mrs. Philomena Self serves as the director of music and liturgy at St. Bartholomew Church, Chris Harkins is the organist authorized to play for marriages celebrated at St. Bartholomew Church. Chris Hankins is a responsible and accomplished organist who is authorized to play and sing for marriages at St. Bartholomew Parish. Couples must meet with Chris to choose the music program from the marriage liturgy. This helps eliminate “last minute” scheduling problems. Contact Chris for more information at the office at 724-834-0709 or her cell 724-972-5663. The music ministry of St. Bartholomew Church provides musical services for all weddings. Only approved sacred liturgical songs are appropriate before, during and after the celebration in church. Other music should be reserved for the reception. Vocalists from St. Bartholomew Church are available. If you desire a visiting vocalist, Chris must meet with this vocalist several weeks in advance of the marriage in the event more than one rehearsal is required. The offering for the organist and vocalist is discussed with them.
Altar Servers​The priest will schedule two altar servers. You may request specific altar servers from St. Bartholomew Parish, or you may request servers from another parish. The usual offering for the servers is discussed in the fees portion of the policy.
The Priest​The priest may accept an offering from the couple. The bishop has designated a stipend for officiating at a marriage in the Diocese of Greensburg. Please refer to the fees portion of the policy for more information.
Reserving St. Bartholomew Church​When the priest assisting the couple is satisfied that the couple has fulfilled all requirements of the parish marriage policy, the couple’s marriage will be posted in the parish Mass book, and a non-refundable check for $120 payable to St. Bartholomew Church will be required at this time.
Decorations & Appointments​Floral and artistic decorations are to enhance, not hinder, the celebration of the sacrament. Liturgical guidelines for decorating will be followed:
  1. Flowers: Floral arrangements are a gift to the church and remain there after the wedding. Usually there are two arrangements on pedestals located on each side of the tabernacle behind the altar.
  2. Pew Bows: If pew bows are desired, they are to be provided by the couple; many florists provide these bows. The bows are attached to the pews by use of rubber bands and not by the use of tape or wire.
  3. Candles: The use of candles other than the altar candles, in the sanctuary (altar area) or in the nave (pew area where guests are seated) is not permitted.
  4. Additional Furniture: The use of any furniture, props, etc., other than chairs and kneelers provided by the parish is not permitted. Space is limited and movement must not be obstructed.
Wedding Candle Ceremony​Although the wedding (unity) candle ceremony is not a part of the official rite of the sacrament of marriage, it is permitted. The couple is responsible for providing the wedding candle set.
Presentation of Flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary​If you choose this option for your wedding, it will take place prior to the final blessing and dismissal. The bride and groom together place the flowers before the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Presentation of Roses to the Parents​During Mass, this presentation may take place during the exchange of the sign of peace. At celebrations outside of Mass, the presentation of roses may be during the exchange of peace as well.
​License​A civil license is required for marriage in Pennsylvania. It is the couple’s responsibility to acquire this license. Please bring this license to the rehearsal.
​Rehearsal​Rehearsals are normally scheduled for the evening before the wedding, or they may be held on some other day before the marriage. Check with the priest to schedule the rehearsal. Rehearsals last approximately 45 minutes if all involved in the wedding are on time. Please be prompt. The possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages on church property is not permitted and will not be tolerated.
Photographs & Video Cameras​The taking of pictures in the church during the ceremony is permitted by a professional photographer. The photographer is to contact the priest before the marriage ceremony. The church is not a photography studio; therefore, we must ask for reverence and decorum during the taking of posed pictures, before and after the ceremony. The photos must be completed by 3:30 p.m. No photographers are permitted in the sanctuary. Video cameras are permitted. Those taking the videos must see the priest prior to the ceremony.
The Crash​The use of a crash or aisle runner is not required. If the couple chooses this option they must provide it, and the couple must make arrangements to remove it. The measurements from the inside doors to the sanctuary carpet is 60 feet; from the outside doors to the sanctuary carpet is 66 feet.
Throwing Rice, Bird Seed, Confetti, etc. & Balloons​Due to the hunger in the world, the mess incurred, the cleanup involved and the potential hazard presented, the throwing of rice, birdseed, confetti, etc. is prohibited in, around and on church grounds. The practice of releasing balloons outdoors after the ceremony is not encouraged. Balloons are made of elastic materials that may become litter and/or a threat to wildlife. Also, tanks of helium gas are not permitted on our church property.
Alcohol​Alcoholic beverages are not permitted anywhere on the church property. This includes before and after both the rehearsal and wedding. Often when a limousine service is used, champagne is provided; please inform the driver that the champagne is not to be served on church property.
Registration in the Parish after Marriage​After your marriage, it is important for you to register as members of a Catholic Church in the area in which you will be residing. Please inform the priest if you will be living in our area after your marriage so that we can properly register you as members of St. Bartholomew Parish. If you will be living elsewhere, please register as members of the parish there, as soon as possible. Regardless of where you will be living, please practice your faith in our Lord Jesus by practicing the corporal works of mercy, praying, attending Mass and receiving the sacraments.
​FeesA $100 non-refundable check payable to St. Bartholomew Church is due when the marriage date is posted in the Parish Mass book. The remained of stipend, $150, is to be paid at least one month prior to the wedding. Please make this check payable to Father Justin Matro, O.S.B. If parishioners bring in a priest who is not assigned to St. Bartholomew Parish, the couple is still responsible for the $250 stipend, as well as other stipends. You should speak with the organist and the vocalists directly regarding their fees ahead of time when details are being discussed.

Non-Parishioners Who Wish to Marry at St. Bartholomew

​Non-parishioners are those who are not registered and who are not active in St. Bartholomew Parish at the time of the initial appointment.

Non-parishioners may marry at St. Bartholomew Church provided the following points are observed:

  1. The parishioners of St. Bartholomew Parish will be given preference, when scheduling dates for weddings in our church.
  2. The priest of St. Bartholomew Parish may not be available for weddings of non-parishioners. It is the responsibility of the couple to contact the priest who will celebrate the marriage. Any priest celebrating sacraments at St. Bartholomew Parish must receive the proper permission from the pastor of St. Bartholomew.
  3. The priest preparing the couple for marriage must receive proper delegation from the pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish; he must follow all marriage guidelines; he must be responsible for all preparation, paperwork and the rehearsal.
  4. There is a user fee of $495 for non-parishioners who would like to be married in St. Bartholomew Church. This fee includes the FOCUS instrument materials, marriage preparation materials, parish clergy stipend, altar servers’ gift, and use of the church.
    • The organist and vocalist fees are not included in this fee.
    • Furthermore, the marrying couple is responsible for the clergy stipend for any visiting priest celebrating the wedding.
    • A $125 non-refundable deposit is required when a date is reserved; the remaining $370 is to be paid one month prior to the wedding.
    • All checks must be made payable to St. Bartholomew.