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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. Can Catholics marry during the Seasons of Lent and Advent? I heard that they cannot celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony during those seasons.

A. 1. On February 20, 1988, the Congregation for Divine Worship published a circular Letter concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts. In it, it stated that the Sacrament of Matrimony cannot be celebrated during two days of the year, namely, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. I quote those sections of the document:

Regarding Good Friday, # 61. states "All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the Sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick. Funerals are to be celebrated without singing, music, or the tolling of bells."

Regarding Holy Saturday, # 75. states "On this day the Church abstains strictly from the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Holy Communion may be given only in the form of Viaticum. The celebration of marriages is forbidden, as also the celebration of other sacraments, except those of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick."

It should be noted that while the Code of Canon Law permits a wedding during Lent (with the exception of the two days mentioned above) and Advent, the members of the Church are expected to tone down the celebration, in keeping with these more somber periods of the liturgical year. The Church’s liturgical books indicate that for weddings during Advent/Lent, external signs such as music and flowers are to be less lavish (if there are any at all). Note that in the process of making this admonition, the liturgical books do acknowledge that weddings may indeed be celebrated during these times — they just cannot be celebrated with the same exuberance and festivity that one often finds at weddings held at other times of year.

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