Marriage in the Catholic Church is a vocation and a Sacrament. It is a covenant, a formal binding agreement, and a solemn promise that involves God, the couple, and the community of the Church. It is, therefore, a sacred and serious way of life.
Through the Sacrament of Matrimony, husband and wife are united to each other in a life-giving union of love, fidelity and mutual self-sacrifice. The Church has an abiding interest in each member of the Catholic Community. This concern is expressed by her priests who help with the preparation for marriage. The pastor and leaders of Holy Comforter also wish to give all assistance possible to ensure maximum convenience in preparation for the marriage and wedding of its parishioners.
The following regulations serve both to promote the welfare and happiness of the parties entering the marriage, and to safeguard the sanctity of the Sacrament. It is important to recognize that marriage, for baptized persons, is a Sacrament, an entrance of Christ into your life to strengthen your love with His own.
Therefore, Catholics who would like to be married during a Nuptial Mass should recognize that participation in the Mass is essential. All Catholics participating in the wedding, not just the bride and groom, but also attendants, parents and guests, are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to the Mass.
Reception of Holy Communion should be a part of all participants’ engagement in the ceremony. You, and any member of your party that wishes to do so, may come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at any time prior to the wedding. Please see the schedule for confession times, or make an appointment with the pastor.
Marriage at Holy Comforter Catholic Church
Congratulations on your engagement! Below is information on getting married at Holy Comforter. Please review each section carefully. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the receptionist.
You may also visit the Evangelize Richmond website for more information and answers to common questions about getting married in the Catholic Church.
- The Sacrament of Marriage is usually celebrated in the parish where you are registered. If you are not Holy Comforter parishioners, you will need a letter from the parish of your registration.
- All marriage preparations begin with an in-person interview with our pastor, Fr. Joseph Mary Lukyamuzi. The priest must be consulted in a way that allows for ample time (at least 6 months) for the fulfillment of the necessary requirements.
- The above-mentioned meeting is required even if Fr. Joseph Mary is not the celebrant.
- In addition to meetings with the officiating priest, the engaged couple must attend an Engaged Encounter weekend or other suitable Pre-Cana event organized by their diocese(s). For Diocese of Richmond Pre-Cana events, please visit evalgenizerichmond.org.
- Please note: If you are not a resident of Charlottesville and cannot be present in Charlottesville to obtain Pre Cana preparation from Holy Comforter’s Pastor, you are responsible to complete Pre-Cana education with a priest near you. He will be responsible in assisting you in collecting and completing all the necessary documentation and submitting it to your local diocese at least 16 weeks before the wedding date.
- The documents required for Marriage in the Catholic Church must be completed and submitted at least two months before the actual wedding date. Please consult the Catholic Diocese of Richmond website or the diocese website of your home church, if applicable.
Your wedding date will be set following your interview with Fr. Joseph Mary. No date will be set for a wedding until the pastor is satisfied that all necessary information and requirements are understood. Weddings traditionally take place on Saturdays between 11:00AM and 2:00PM. For any other day or time, the pastor shall be consulted. Limitations will exist due to scheduled parish events.
The church requires a fee to offset lighting, maintenance and other costs. While the ability of the couple to pay in no way determines the services available, the church fees should be kept proportional to other wedding costs.
|Venue Fee||$500 (required to HOLD date)|
|Music Minister Consult Fee|
To play organ/piano (optional)
|$100 (when using guest musician)|
|Priest Stipend||Up to the generosity of the couple|
The church requires the involvement of our Wedding Coordinator at each wedding for the security of our building and your guests. Each couple is required to meet with the Wedding Coordinator before the wedding. If the couple has engaged their own wedding coordinator, that individual shall work in tandem with Holy Comforter’s Wedding Coordinator. There are no extra fees for this service.
A consultation with the music director is required if any music will be played during the marriage ceremony. The consultation with the music director includes: planning and approving music selections with the couple, and arranging for cantors, choir, or instrumentalists when requested. There is a $100 consultation fee when the couple intends to use a guest musician; no fee is required if the couple plans to work with the music director or does not intend to have music at their ceremony. The principal in choosing music is that it be elevated in accord with the dignity of the ceremony, and is usually either classical style music or beautiful sacred music. All music selections made with guest musicians must also be approved by the director of music. The music director is also available to play the organ/piano at the rehearsal and wedding for a fee (see the table above). The couple may also choose to use a Cantor for an additional fee.
- Parking: Finding parking may be difficult for your guests, as Holy Comforter Catholic Church is located in the downtown area of Charlottesville. Encourage all guests to leave extra time to find nearby parking. There is one parking space behind the church for a visiting priest/deacon. To apply for reserved parking spaces on nearby streets for a fee, you will need to apply through the City of Charlottesville.
- Guest Capacity: Holy Comforter has a maximum seating capacity of 250 persons in the Sanctuary. Please include the count of the wedding party, and guests when estimating your guest list.
- Unity Candle: A unity candle is not a part of the Sacrament of Marriage. Please save this for your reception; unfortunately, we cannot accommodate this custom as part of your ceremony.
- Celebrant Instructions for Priests Outside of Virginia: With the permission of the pastor, a couple is certainly allowed to be married by a family member or friend who is a priest in good-standing in their respective diocese.
- A letter must be sent to the Vicar General of the Richmond Diocese from his diocese stating just that. The full mailing address and contact information for the CDR Office of the Vicar General can be found here.
- The proposed celebrant also needs permission/authorization to marry in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He needs (1) to produce proof of his ordination and (2) a letter of good standing on his parish letterhead. Both these forms should be emailed to [email protected]. Once the order has been signed by the Clerk of Court, the celebrant must collect it in-person (with proof of ID) from the Charlottesville Circuit Court (address below). The clerk’s complete contact information is:
Hon. Llezelle Agustin Dugger
City of Charlottesville Circuit Court
Office Hours: 8:30AM – 4:30PM
Address: 315 East High Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (434) 970-3766
Our prayers are with you as you prepare for this wonderful Sacrament!