Due to the sacred nature of the Sacrament of Marriage, priests in the Diocese of Orlando have been asked by our Most Reverend Bishop John Noonan “To honor the sacredness of the marriage vow and to recognize that marriage is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ and entrusted to the Church, marriages are only permitted in a designated parish of the Diocese of Orlando.” That is why “Marriages are not permitted at theme parks, beaches or hotels/resorts. Furthermore, since the following are not designated parishes, couples are not permitted to wed at the following locations: Basilica of Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine, Chapel at San Pedro Spiritual Developmental Center, or chapels at funeral parlors. With these guidelines couples should be encouraged to become more aware of the sacredness of the Sacrament rather than external details.”
Unfortunately, there are websites on the internet which advertize Catholic Wedding ceremonies at the couple’s location of choice, home, hotel, beach, garden, etc… These sites state “The only way a couple can be married in a Catholic wedding ceremony which is recognized by the Church is with the assistance of the local parish priest,” which is in agreement with our Diocesan policy on the location of marriage; yet, these websites, only reference the day of the ceremony and its location, offering no formation or preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage which is what the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is. Sites offering “Rent a Priest” can only bring about disappointment to the engaged couple, as these priests do not have faculties from the bishop and may have been intentionally removed from priestly ministry.
The Office of Family Life and Pastoral Care is a resource for parishes and couples who are seeking to prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage. For couples, please visit our webpage at https://www.orlandodiocese.org/marriage-preparation, for schedules and a helpful checklist on what is needed for your nuptial files. For parishes, please join us our Deanery Marriage Prep workshops (we are always looking for parishes to host) and the Pre-Conference Event on August 2nd at Holy Family, please visit our webpage, https://www.orlandodiocese.org/marriage-conference. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.