The Catholic University of America

Weddings on Campus Policy 

Approved by: President
History: Issued               -- 1998  
  Revised            -- October 31, 2014  
  Last Reviewed --
Related Policies:  
Additional References: Regulations of the Archdiocese of Washington
Responsible Official: Director of Campus Ministry tel. (202) 319-5575
I.   Marriage: A Celebration of the Whole Church  
Whenever the people of God gather in prayer as the Church, we celebrate our election, our adoption, into the Body of Christ. We bear witness to the communal nature of this family we call "the Church, the Body of Christ" every time we come together for our public worship. Indeed, all of the sacraments are celebrated most poignantly when they are prayed in the context of a communal celebration. On the local level, this public prayer and worship of the universal Church is realized in the parish community. Since every sacrament is a participation in the prayer of the entire Body of Christ, a wedding celebration that focuses on those receiving the sacrament alone would somehow fall short of its full meaning as a celebration of the entire people of God. 
Thus, the exchange of wedding vows is a visible sign of God's presence and love in the world in general and the parish community in particular, and the creation of a new family within this worldwide body. As the couple vow to each other, the local community promises to support the couple and each other in times of joy and in times of need. A commitment is made not only between the woman and the man, but also between the couple and the Church, and the Church with her members.  
For these reasons, the Code of Canon Law (1983) and the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963) strongly favor and encourage a communal celebration of sacraments in the parish setting. It is further stated that graduates of educational institutions are expected to register in a parish. The Catholic University of America(CUA) is not a University Parish. The University is located within the territorial limits of St. Anthony Parish in the Brookland Neighborhood of Northeast Washington, D.C. 
Because of the nature of the University community and the ties which sometimes develop between individuals and the University, students, faculty, and staff may wish to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage on campus in one of the University Chapels. The Archdiocese of Washington and the Office of Campus Ministry at The Catholic University of America have set guidelines to facilitate a valid celebration of this sacrament.  
II.   Those who are eligible to be married in a Roman Catholic celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage in a University Chapel  
1.   Full-time graduate and undergraduate CUA students if they meet all the canonical requirements. 
2.   CUA faculty and/or staff members and their children if they meet all the canonical requirements. 
3.   Graduates of CUA may seek permission from the Chaplain of the University to be married in a University chapel. 
** Anyone seeking to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage in a University chapel who meets all eligibility requirements must submit, prior to securing a date for a wedding, a letter from their pastor(s) permitting them to marry outside their parish boundary in a chapel at CUA.
III. Use of University Chapels 
The CUA community uses University chapels on a daily basis. When scheduling chapel availability, it is important that the needs, regulations and the guidelines set by the University are followed. 
Caldwell Chapel (dedicated in 1889 as St. Paul's Chapel) is located in Caldwell Hall, mezzanine level, and is the original chapel of The Catholic University of America. The chapel seats 60 to 70 adults comfortably. It is not air-conditioned. The Odell pipe organ (New York, 1889) is the original, and is in need of renovation and repair. Persons wishing to use this instrument must speak with the Associate Chaplain for Liturgy and Worship. Because of the chapel's location in Caldwell Hall, Caldwell Chapel is not easily accessible for those with disabilities. In addition, there is no dressing area for the bridal party. The chapel is equipped with Gather Comprehensive hymnals and the accompaniment books (keyboard and guitar). 
St. Vincent de Paul Chapel is located on John McCormack Road, between Millennium North and Millennium South residence halls. Built in 1949, and renovated and re-dedicated in 1992, the chapel seats 150 to 175 adults, with use of the balcony.  It is air conditioned. The chapel is equipped with a baby grand piano and a Schudi pipe organ (1987). Those persons wishing to use the pipe organ must speak with the Associate Chaplain for Liturgy and Worship. Restrooms are located to the left and right of the main entrance. The chapel is accessible for people with disabilities. There is no dressing area for the bridal party. The chapel is equipped with Gather Comprehensive II hymnals and the accompaniment books (keyboard and guitar). 
IV. Regulations  
1.   Weddings will be scheduled according to University chapel availability. Note: Weddings are not encouraged during the season of Lent.
2.   All chapel reservations must be made at least six (6) months in advance through the Office of Campus Ministry.
3.   No furniture or equipment is to be removed from the chapel/s or sacristy.
4.   No furniture or equipment is to be moved in the chapel/s without the expressed consent of theAssociate Chaplain for Liturgy and Worship.
5.   No notices, posters, or decorations may be affixed by any method to any walls, pews, chairs, fixtures, or furniture.
6.   Florists must provide their own flower stands. We are grateful when flowers are left in the chapel as a donation to the University. It is the responsibility of the bridal party to remove all other decorations after the wedding ceremony.
7.   The chapel/s must be returned to its proper order. All programs, song sheets, or worship aids are to be collected by those using the chapel. Hymnals are to be returned to their proper place.Damages or loss will be billed to those using the chapel by the Office of Campus Ministry.
8.   All trash is to be placed in the proper containers by those using the chapels.
9.   All seasonal décor is to be left in place intact.
10. No food or drink is allowed in the chapel/s.
11. The chapels do not have bridal rooms. Sacristies and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel adjoining St. Vincent de Paul Chapel may not, under any circumstances, be used as a dressing room.
12. If keys are needed to access the chapel/s and/or sacristies, arrangements should be made through the Campus Ministry Office Manager. Keys must be returned the following business day.
13. All official canonical, liturgical, and Archdiocese of Washington guidelines are to be followed for the liturgical celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage and the Nuptial Mass.
If one wishes to have the piano in St. Vincent de Paul Chapel tuned immediately prior to chapel use, it is the couple’s responsibility to cover the cost of $100 which will be paid directly to the piano tuner (cost subject to change). The Associate Chaplain for Liturgy and Worship will arrange piano tuning at your request. At least two weeks advanced notice is required.  
V. Fees
        A non-refundable security deposit is due the day the chapel is reserved. Checks should be made payable to: CUA Campus Ministry.
        A required fee for the use of the chapel. In the event of a cancellation, the fee is refundable minus the security deposit. Checks should be made payable to: CUA Campus Ministry.
     A required sacristan fee is due at least two weeks prior to the wedding, payable directly to the University sacristan. A University sacristan must be present for both the rehearsal and the wedding. This fee is refundable in the event of a cancellation. 
VI. Sacramental Records 
A marriage ceremony that takes place in one of the University chapels will be recorded in two locations: 1) the wedding registry book belonging to St. Anthony's Parish, which is kept at the Office of Campus Ministry at The Catholic University of America; and 2) at the request of the pastor, the wedding registry book at St. Anthony Parish. 
VII. Wedding Guidelines 
Arrangements for a wedding to be celebrated at one of the University chapels must be made with the University Chaplain, the Associate Chaplain for Liturgy and Worship, and the officiating priest/deacon a minimum of six (6) months prior to the wedding date.  All norms of Canon Law and the Archdiocese of Washington, DC must be followed. 
The following documents must be presented before a date for the wedding can be secured: 
1.    A letter from the officiating priest/deacon that he has canonical faculties to celebrate the sacraments.
2.    A certificate that the officiating priest/deacon is licensed by the DC government to witness marriages.
3.    Written permission from the pastor of the Catholic parties for the wedding to take place in a University Chapel.
The following documents must be presented at least (3) months before the wedding:
   1.   Written delegation from the Pastor of St. Anthony Parish for the officiant.
   2.   The complete marriage file with all documentation, forms, etc.
3.    In the case of a couple prepared for marriage outside of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, a letter from the priest/deacon who conducted the marriage preparation stating that preparation has been completed and that appropriate wedding file has been sent to (Arch)bishop of the diocese where the preparation took place.  
VIII. Responsibilities of the Couple
Officiant: The couple wishing to marry must secure a presider (either a Catholic priest or Catholic deacon with appropriate canonical faculties) and ensure that he is aware of his responsibilities to conduct a legal marriage in Washington, DC.
Marriage preparation: The couple must receive appropriate education and pastoral preparation through participation in a marriage preparation program approved by the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. Acertification of completion must be submitted and kept with the couple’s marriage records at the University.  
DC Marriage license: This is obtained at the Marriage License Bureau, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 4485; 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, tel. (202) 879-4840. The license is valid for one (1) month and requires a five (5) day waiting period after the application has been filed and payment of fee.
Sacramental Records: Each baptized person being married must present an official copy of his/her baptismal record for inclusion in the marriage file. For Catholics, this means obtaining an official copy of your baptism and confirmation certificate issued within six months of the wedding. For non-Catholics, anypermanent copy of your baptismal record will suffice. These documents become part of the official marriage file and cannot be returned.
Freedom to Marry Forms: Each party is given a copy of a form to be completed by a priest, who questions a parent, relative or close acquaintance regarding the parties' freedom to marry. 
Pre-Nuptial Investigation: Each party is questioned, under oath, that nothing stands in the way of a valid and licit celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. 
If necessary, any canonical dispensation or declaration of nullity forms as determined by Canon Law and the Archdiocese of Washington. 
Any other documentation needed for the wedding ceremony to proceed as determined by the University Chaplain and/or his delegate.   
All documents must be presented to the officiating priest/deacon, who confirms their receipt with theAssociate Chaplain for Liturgy and Worship a minimum of three months before the wedding. Following the wedding, all documents must be submitted to the Office of Campus Ministry to be kept in the official University marriage record and at St. Anthony Parish.  
IX. Guidelines regarding the Officiant (Presider) 
1.    An ordained, Roman Catholic priest/deacon who is currently a faculty/staff member of the University may be asked to witness the marriage as long as he possesses appropriate canonical faculties.
2.    Ordained Roman Catholic clergy not affiliated with the University also may officiate with the permission of the University Chaplain and after proper faculties, delegation and licensing have been obtained.
3.    The name of the officiant must be submitted to the University Chaplain at the time the chapel is reserved so that all canonical and civil requirements may be addressed in a timely fashion.
4.    The officiant must receive permission from the University Chaplain before witnessing the marriage and canonical delegation from the Pastor of St. Anthony Parish. The couple should put the officiant in contact with the University Chaplain, who will facilitate this process as soon as possible. 
If the marriage preparation occurs within the Archdiocese of Washington, DC 
The officiant must be sure that adequate marriage preparation has taken place and all necessary documents have been obtained (including prenuptial investigation). All documents must be submitted to the Office of Campus Ministry at least one month in advance. The official copy of the Washington, DC marriage license must be submitted to Campus Ministry immediately following the wedding ceremony.  
If the marriage preparation occurs outside of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC 
The officiant must ensure that adequate marriage preparation has taken place and all necessary documents have been obtained (including prenuptial investigation). All documents are to be submitted to the priest/deacon’s own (arch)diocese for review. That (arch)diocese will then send the documentation to the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. This process should be initiated no less than three (3) months prior to the wedding. 

The officiating priest or deacon is responsible for working with the couple to plan the wedding liturgy and music, ensuring that it is appropriate for Roman Catholic worship. A copy of the proposed Order of Service, including music selections, must be submitted to the Associate Chaplain for Liturgy and Worship at least one month before the wedding date for review and approval.