White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
South Africa Presence
Catholic / Spiritual Weddings
Couples wanting to get married 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 The Contemporary Catholic offer you an alternative.
Those entering into second marriages, those experiencing religious differences with the church and those turned-off by clericalism and scandals will find openness and acceptance.
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. Are these of concern to you?
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. While we do not maintain any church buildings you may also be able to use interdenominational churches and chapels for more formal settings. Hotels, banquet halls, private homes, museums and other locales are other options.
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 permissible. Vows can be written by you or chosen from more traditional options. Ceremonies which speak to various ethnic groups can also be accommodated. We have a Catholic/Orthodox ceremony that maintains the customs of both traditions. Unity candles, roses to parents, family blessings 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 Catholic Church since we share very similar liturgical forms. The Wedding Mass is the preferred way of celebrating the sacrament. Because we are ecumenical, all people participating in the ceremony are invited to the altar for communion, regardless of religious affiliation. Wedding ceremonies can also be celebrated outside of the Mass.
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 solemnizes remarriages with the joy and the peace of Christ.
As an ecumenical community, we are 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.
To be legally married, both partners will need to produce to the priest their Identity Documents and on the day of the Wedding each partner must individually and in writing declare their willingness to enter into a civil union (marriage) with one another by signing the prescribed document in the presence of two witnesses. If one or both partners do not have their Identity Documents, they must furnish to the marriage officer the prescribed affidavit. If this is a second marriage for either or both partners, they should furnish to the priest a certified copy of the divorce order, or death certificate of the former spouse or partner, as the case may be, as proof that the previous marriage or civil union has been terminated. After the ceremony, the priest will make sure that your marriage (or civil partnership) is registered at the appropriate agency. He will also provide a registration certificate (marriage or civil partnership certificate) for your more immediate use. You will need to have this document to change driverís licenses, bank accounts, insurance plans and other legal documents after the wedding.
Recognition by the Roman Catholic Church
within the Catholic community has its own criteria for recognition of sacraments. The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict who serves in the Contemporary Catholic Community is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Through apostolic succession in the Old (Dutch) Catholic tradition
, 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
While we do not, on principle, have fees for religious services, we do rely on donations to sustain and further the ministry. When couples inquire about what to offer, we usually reference what officiants typically receive depending on the kind of ceremony requested.(Money is never an issue, however, and whatever is offered will be gratefully accepted.) Because we do not have priests in every city or province, a priest may be required to travel great distances to celebrate the sacrament with you. In those instances we ask that those costs (Travelling and accommodation) also be covered separately from any donation. Please check with your priest regarding this matter as we do not deny the sacraments to anyone in financial distress.
What must I do to have a priest officiate at our wedding?
The first step is to complete and submit via the web a Marriage Petition
as provided, or contact
Fr Oliver at Johannesburg. This will allow us to find a priest closest to you and begin a dialog 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. Your priest will work with you to discuss marriage and help you plan your wedding.
Thank you for your interest in our Contemporary Catholic Community and the possibility of us ministering to you at your Wedding. Please contact Fr Oliver if you need any further information.
Wishing you all Godís blessings of Peace and Joy as you prepare for this great step in you lives.