Catholic Weddings: Another Option

Contemporary Catholics are often searching for a non-judgmental, sacramental experience different from that offered by the institutional church. You may want to have a Catholic wedding but may not be permitted, for various reasons, by the institutional church. We at Sacred Heart of Jesus American National Catholic Church offer you a valid alternative.
Those entering into second marriages, same sex couples, those experiencing religious differences with the church and others will find openness and acceptance here. We provide marriage services in a compassionate manner. Perhaps you have concerns about perceived barriers? We treat you with the same care Christ gave to all who came to him.

Outdoor Weddings and Other Sites

The choice of location for your wedding is yours. Depending on weather and other factors ceremonies may be held out-of-doors. You may hold your wedding at our church, or arrange to use another interdenominational church or chapel. Hotels, banquet halls, private homes, museums and other locales are other options. A wedding consultant or the yellow pages can yield additional suggestions.

Personalization of Wedding Ceremonies

We will be pleased to assist you in personalizing your wedding ceremony. There are many ways in which this can be accomplished. Options for readings, both from the scriptures and other sources, which speak to marriage are available. Vows can be written by you or chosen from more traditional options. Ceremonies which speak to various ethnic groups can also be accommodated. Unity candles, roses to parents and other more traditional activities can be easily included. Discussing your wishes with your priest is the best way to assure that your day is special.

Nuptial Mass and Wedding Ceremonies

Your wedding ceremony will be very similar to that celebrated in the Roman jurisdiction since we share the same liturgical forms. The Nuptial Mass is the preferred way of celebrating the sacrament. Because the ANCC is ecumenical, all people participating in the ceremony are invited to the altar for communion, regardless of religious affiliation. On a practical side, it only adds a minimal amount of time to the length of the ceremony. Wedding ceremonies can also be celebrated outside of the Mass.

Previous Marriages

As Catholics, we believe in the sanctity of marriage; we also realize that we are only too human. When a marriage ends through divorce, it is often prima facie evidence that the essential element of marriage did not exist to maintain the bond. While we do not have an annulment or dispensation process, remarriage is allowed in order to avoid further human tragedy. From this perspective we solemnize remarriages with the joy and the peace of Christ.

Religious Differences

Sacred Heart of Jesus ANCC parish  is inclusive. We encourage you to consider how religious differences might impact your relationship. It is not one of those easily overlooked issues. We only ask that you raise any children in a loving household and teach them to love God and one another as He loves us, wholly and completely.

Marriage Preparation Classes

Your marriage represents a change in how you see yourself and your relationship with others. It is both exciting and frightening. You can control only part of what happens to you. Your family and friends are here to support you and so is the community as a whole. Marriage preparation courses and individual counseling can help. We encourage you to take time to prepare yourselves and will assist you as time and distance allow. Your marriage will work only if both of you are committed to making it work. Ideally, the priest would like to meet with you at least once before the ceremony.

Legal Issues

To be legally married, you will need to have a license from the city clerk’s office of your municipality, please contact them to learn the  requirements for your city. Often, there is a short waiting period, a definite expiration date and sometimes other requirements. After the ceremony, the priest will make sure that your license is signed and sent to the appropriate agency. He will also provide a marriage certificate for your more immediate use. You will need to have this or a document issued by the county clerk to change driver’s licenses, bank accounts, insurance plans and other legal documents after the wedding.

Recognition by the Roman Catholic Church

Each jurisdiction has its own criteria for recognition of sacraments. Sacred Heart of Jesus ANCC parish is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Through apostolic succession, we celebrate the same sacraments as those in the Roman and Orthodox communities. Your marriage will be legal with the state and a sacrament in the eyes of God.

Fees for Wedding Services

There are a number of expenses related to providing wedding services and these can change depending on where the wedding takes place, travel expenses, and more.  A donation check made payable to a parish or the clergy of the American National Catholic Church may be considered tax deductible as we are a New Jersey not-for-profit organization and the IRS recognizes the parish as a publicly supported (religious) organization. Please check with your priest regarding this matter as we do not deny the sacraments to anyone in financial distress.

How to secure a priest as officiate?

Please call the parish office. This will allow us to begin a dialogue with you on your wedding. Ideally, we would like to personally meet at least once with a couple. When this is not practical, email and telephone conversations may substitute.