CELEBRATION OF MATRIMONY
These guidelines for the celebration of matrimony in a church reflect the updated guidance by government officials, healthcare professionals and church authorities. These guidelines are based on current requirements for groups of 160 or less in the church at any time, excluding ministers.
• Masks should be worn for the entire time the faithful and guests are in the church. Per IDPH and CDC guidelines, those with breathing difficulties can be exempted from this requirement, but those individuals must observe the strictest of social distancing from anyone not living in their domicile.
• If photographs are to be taken after the service inside the church, it is recommended that all but the bride and groom wear masks. If the priest/deacon is to be photographed with the wedding party, he must keep his mask on. The photographer must also wear a mask.
Congratulations to you on your engagement! To begin the process to get married at St. John of the Cross and before a wedding date can be set, we ask each couple to meet with our parish deacon. While we suggest that you contact us as far in advance as possible, please contact the parish at least six months before your desired wedding date and prior to making any other wedding plans. To be married at St. John of the Cross, at least one party must be a parishioner or the son or daughter of a parishioner. Please call our Parish Center at 708.246.4404 to make an appointment with Deacon Rich Voytas.
- Contact St. John of the Cross at least 6 months before your proposed wedding date to schedule an appointment with Deacon Rich Voytas. We suggest that you contact us as far in advance as possible and before you make other wedding
plans. As part of your initial meeting, Deacon Voytas will need to determine your freedom to be married in the Church. Freedom to be married in the Catholic Church is determined in part by the Baptismal status of the couple (at least one party must be a Catholic) and that neither the bride nor the groom is in a current marriage or has unresolved matters from a previous marriage.
- If at the conclusion of your initial meeting with the Deacon if it is determined that you are free to be married, your wedding date will be set. Wedding dates can be set through the next calendar year.
- Generally, the parish priest/deacon with whom you meet at your initial meeting will be assigned to assist with your preparation. You may request a specific priest/deacon if you wish or invite a personal friend or family member who is a
priest/deacon to officiate. The priest/deacon who will be arranging your wedding will help you begin to acquire the documents which will be needed for the official paperwork, help you to choose the most appropriate Pre-Cana for you to attend,
give you information for completing an online Catholic Couple Checkup and set the timeline for your subsequent meetings.
- After you have met with the deacon arranging your wedding, schedule your Pre-Cana – either our PROMISE Pre-Cana or a Pre-Cana program offered by the Archdiocese of Chicago.
- If either the bride or groom are Catholic and have not been confirmed, they should if at all possible attend an Adult Confirmation class and be confirmed prior to the wedding. The priest/deacon arranging your wedding can help you with this
process. Information is also available about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for brides or grooms who wish to become Catholic or who were baptized Catholic but have not completed the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
- At least 5-9 months before your wedding, contact our Music Director, Jessica Koch email@example.com to begin arrangements for the music for your wedding.
As part of your marriage preparation, couples being married at St. John of the Cross are asked to take a Catholic Couple Checkup. The Checkup is an online relationship assessment that automatically tailors the content of the inventory to match the stage (dating, engaged, married) and structure (cohabiting, children, blended family, etc.) of a couple’s relationship. The Couple Checkup is based on content from the widely used Prepare/Enrich program developed from 30 years of research at the University of Minnesota. These relationship inventories have been used by over 3 million couples around the work. This inventory compares and contrasts responses from both partners and categorizes the results into helpful categories and topics for discussion. The Checkup will help you identify your strengths and growth areas in your relationship, increase dialogue and motivate lasting behavior change. Before you begin here are some helpful tips:
- Work separately as you complete the Couple checkup. Be open and honest with your responses to the inventory.
- Once you are both finished, you can print your Couple Report. Start by identifying and reviewing your relationship strengths as well as growth areas.
- Use the Discussion Guide along with your Couple Checkup Report to discuss your results and begin practicing new skills. Take about 30 minutes per day to discuss a topic and complete an exercise from the Discussion Guide.
First Person clicks “Get Started”
Step 1: Review / Accept the Terms and Conditions
Step 2: Enter your First Names, Emails, and a single Password
Step 3: Enter your payment. The cost is $29.99 per couple.
Step 4: Save a copy of your Account Information: account number and password
Step 5: Complete your Couple Checkup
Second Person clicks “Login”
Step 1: Enter the Account Number and Password received via email
Step 2: Complete your Couple Checkup
Step 3: Click View Results to open, save and print your report
Step 4: Print a Discussion Guide
You will receive your results soon after you both complete the inventory. Please send a copy of your results to Deacon Voytas at St. John of the Cross.
Promise is the Pre-Cana or marriage preparation program offered at St. John of the Cross. The Promise Team is made up of married couples from the Parish. They lead engaged couples and share their experiences through discussions, exercises and presentations on the many facets of married life. Topics covered include: Expectations of Marriage, Communication, Dealing with Conflict, Finance, Sexuality, Children, In-Laws, and Marriage as a Sacrament.
Contact: Kerry Sheehan
Archdiocesan Pre-Cana Programs
The Archdiocese of Chicago is thrilled to offer live PreCana sessions virtually!
Participants enjoy the benefit of live interaction with other couples as well as the ease of having private conversations in the comfort of their own homes. Those who participate to do not need to be living or getting married in the Archdiocese of Chicago to fulfill their PreCana requirement through these virtual sessions. For more information, including how to register, please visit pvm.archchicago.org/virtual-precana.
In addition to our PROMISE Pre-Cana, the Archdiocese of Chicago offers other Pre-Cana programs. If you are unable to attend our parish program, you should discuss this with the priest/deacon who is assisting in your preparation. He will be able to guide you toward the best program for you to attend. Further information is available at https://www.familyministries.org or by calling (312) 751-8201.
The following wedding documents are necessary:
1. A Baptismal Certificate* less than six months old must be submitted by each Catholic party. Non-Catholic parties are also asked to bring a record of Baptism.
2. Two (2) Witness Affidavits each for the bride and groom may be required which testify to baptismal status and the freedom to marry. Affidavit forms will be provided to you.
3. An official Canonical Document, the Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire will be completed privately with the bride, groom, and priest or deacon arranging your wedding.
4. A Marriage Preparation Certificate is to be submitted prior to the rehearsal date. You will receive a certificate after completing a Pre-Cana program.
5. A Marriage License from Cook County is to be presented at your rehearsal or at your final meeting with the priest/deacon celebrating your wedding.
(*To obtain a currently dated baptismal certificate, contact the church where you were baptized. If the church of baptism has been closed, contact the Archdiocese of Chicago
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center at (312)534-4400, or http://archives.archchicago.org/
The offering for a wedding at St. John of the Cross is $850 and includes an offering for the church and the fee for the organist/pianist and the cantor/soloist. The church offering helps to defray the operation of the church building, set-up and clean-up of the facilities before and after your wedding, and other details. Financial limitations should not prevent a couple from celebrating a marriage in the Church so please contact the Pastor if finances are an issue. No part of the church offering is given as a stipend to the priest/deacon at your wedding. Those wishing to give a separate gift may do so. Fees are due one week before your wedding and can be sent to the Parish Center or paid online here.
Please note there is a $.25 fee for Bank Account transactions, and a 3% fee for Credit Card transactions.
Weddings at Saint John of the Cross Parish are celebrated primarily on Saturdays and are at 2:00pm or earlier. It is very important that weddings begin promptly to allow sufficient time to celebrate the liturgy which you are planning. In addition, time will be allowed following your wedding for photographs at the altar. While we are occasionally able to accommodate weddings on Friday evenings, we are not able to accommodate Sunday weddings.
Priests or deacons from other Catholic churches or ministers from other denominations are welcome to participate in your wedding celebration. Visiting priests (or deacons) who will preside at your wedding are invited to be present at the wedding rehearsal. Please inform us as soon as possible if a guest priest/deacon will celebrate your wedding or if a visiting minister will be present.
Update - Due to COVID-19, the maximum number of people allowed in church is 160.
St. John of the Cross Church has a seating capacity of approximately 800 and is fully air conditioned in the summer. In addition there is a gathering room in the church for the bride and bridesmaids and the sacristy area is available for the groom and groomsmen. These gathering areas are available for your use 30 minutes before your wedding. For your convenience, restrooms are situated near both gathering areas.
Summer 2020 Update - At this time, Altar Servers will not present at weddings.
2 altar servers will be provided for your wedding. It is customary that a monetary stipend of $10 - $15 be given to each altar server by the Best Man at the end of the wedding.
St. John of the Cross Parish has established a ministry of wedding coordinators who will be present with you as you celebrate your wedding. Our coordinators are extensively trained to assist you. They will conduct your wedding rehearsal and on the day of your wedding be present to assist with all of the details of your wedding liturgy.
Your wedding rehearsal is usually held the evening before your wedding and is an important part of its preparation. The rehearsal allows members of your immediate wedding party to become familiar with the church environment and with the public roles they will assume as part of the liturgy. The rehearsal will be conducted by two of our wedding coordinators. One of the coordinators will contact you the week before your rehearsal to discuss the specifics of your wedding liturgy and to answer any questions you might have. Please make sure that all the members of your wedding party (including children) are present for the rehearsal and that they arrive 10 minutes prior to the starting time of the rehearsal. The lectors (readers) and gift-bearers for your wedding should also be in attendance. Musicians are not normally present at the wedding rehearsal. The rehearsal will run approximately 1 hour. Please call the Parish Center 708-246-4404 to schedule your rehearsal.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOTAPING - Please print a copy of these guidelines for your photographer/videographer. Photo and Video Guidelines
Your wedding is a sacred celebration. All photographers and videographers, amateur and professional, are asked to show reverence for the celebration and the building in which it takes place. We ask that the following guidelines be observed.
- All photographers and videographers should check in with the parish wedding coordinators before the wedding to review the guidelines and polices.
- Flash photography and additional videotape lighting may be used during the entrance procession, the recession and during the presentation of flowers to the Blessed Mother. Flash photography and additional lighting may not be used
during the liturgy itself.
- Videotape equipment must be unobtrusive and its placement will be determined in consultation with the wedding coordinators. Photographers and videographers and their equipment are not permitted within
the tiled area around the Baptismal font, piano and organ. No equipment may be placed in proximity of this area that will obstruct the view between the musicians and the main altar. Additionally no equipment is to be set immediately behind the piano or organ bench.
- Except for the recession, videotape equipment must remain stationary.
- Taping or attaching microphones or any other audio/video equipment may damage church furnishings and therefore is not allowed.
- At all times photographers and videographers are cautioned against marring furniture by standing or placing camera equipment on the pews or other church furnishings.
- Time exposures may be made from the back of church during the celebration provided there is no noise or other distraction.
- Following the celebration, the wedding party may return for pictures. Flash and other lighting equipment may be used at that time.
- We remind you that photographs wedding need to be completed by 3:30pm. Please be aware that if your wedding starts late, the subsequent picture-taking time will be shortened accordingly.
FLOWERS AND DECORATIONS - Please print a copy of these guidelines for your florist. Flowers and Decoration Guidelines
In addition to flowers worn or carried by those in the wedding party, you may wish to place other floral arrangements in the church. When making preparations with your florist, please observe the following guidelines:
- Florists should check in with the parish wedding coordinators before the wedding to review the guidelines and polices.
- Floral arrangements may be placed near the altar platform, but may never be placed on the altar table itself.
- Low rise stands, vases or baskets are permitted on the floor in front of the altar provided floral arrangements are below the height of the altar table .
- If taller stands are to be used for floral arrangements, they must be placed toward the back of the altar platform so that sight lines between priest, cantor, lectors and congregation may be preserved. Your florist must supply any stands or pedestals.
- For safety reasons, the use of additional candles/candle stands (other than the Unity Candle – see below) is not permitted.
- Flower petals also pose a safety hazard and therefore are not permitted to be dispersed in or around the church.
- Decorations may not be attached to the pews or other furniture by pinning, gluing, nailing, tacking, taping or stapling. Decorations may be attached using elastic bands.
- There are 19 pews along the main aisle of the church.
- At the conclusion of your wedding, please remember to take those floral arrangements with you that you wish to keep.
- A cloth runner which extends the length of the main aisle will be provided by the church if desired. Only this heavy cloth runner (non-disposable) is permitted.
- Depending on the time of year in which your wedding takes place, there may be church decorations already in place on the altar platform. These church decorations may not be moved or removed.
- The altar candles and other furnishings in the altar area may not be moved or removed.
Rice, birdseed and flower petals are not permitted to be thrown in or around the church due to the safety hazards they pose. In addition, helium balloons are not permitted in the church and pose a risk to wildlife. We ask that you please refrain from their use as well.
Our parking lot is quite large and can accommodate all of your parking needs. Your guests are welcome to use our church parking lots while attending your wedding. The lots are accessible from Wolf Road and Caroline Avenue. Limousines and buses are asked to remain in the General Parking area when not making a drop-off or pick-up.
Saint John of the Cross Church is handicapped accessible from all its entrances. In addition, the entrance on the north end of the church nearest to Caroline Avenue has a push-button automatic door. A specially designated area for handicapped parking is located at the north end of the church, immediately adjacent to the building. We kindly ask that limousines and buses not park in the handicap parking lot.