Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles

Address: 1021 S. 10th St., St. Louis, MO 63104
Tel.: 314.231.1021
Fax.: 314.231.1418

Mystery of Crowning

  • Those intending to marry must notify the pastor at least six (6) months prior to the planned date for the ceremony.
  • Neither the pastor nor the parties are to establish a date for the marriage ceremony prior to the reception of a definitive sentence regarding the nullity of a former union. If there is a question regarding a prior union, even a civil one, and the freedom to marry is in question, the priest is asked not to proceed with setting a tentative date until the question is resolved. The pastor is encouraged to contact the Chancery for advice on specific cases.
  • The couple seeking church marriage must be attentive to their spiritual life as they prepare to encounter Christ in the union of their love. This special time requires a period of prayer, meditation, renewal and discernment. The couple should be encouraged to avail themselves of all the graces the Church can offer them in the Mysteries of Penance and Holy Communion.
    • Each parish is to conduct a program of marriage preparation according to the guidelines prepared by the Office of Religious Education such as the Foccus Program, Pre-Cana, Engagement Encounter or other approved program. If the parish is unable to conduct the marriage preparation program, arrangements should be made with another parish or other local Catholic marriage preparation program.
    • The pastoral involvement of the priest is most essential in the preparation of a couple for marriage. This is especially so when the formal marriage preparation program is taking place outside his local parish. His meetings with the couple ought to be frequent.
  • The purpose of a marriage preparation program is:
    • to give each couple the opportunity to consult with advisors who will help them consider and discuss the necessary issues to insure for them a life-long commitment in marriage;
    • to support the right of a couple to marry in the church. Cases where both parties, even though young, give sufficient evidence of the required maturity, the marriage preparations ought to assist in their personal development and readiness to marry.
    • to discern whether to advise postponement of a marriage when necessary; and until such time as any obstacles to a valid, sacramental marriage have been removed.
  • For a variety of appropriate reasons, sometimes revealed during the preparation program, postponement―but not refusal―of the marriage may be judged appropriate. This issue is to be discussed openly and, if appropriate, with the families involved.
  • The problem of cohabitation prior to marriage is increasingly a problem among those seeking the blessing of the Church in marriage. If, after learning that the couple has been living together and sharing an active sexual life, marriage should not be denied, but restrictions on the form of the ceremony may be appropriate, especially if the couple has no intention of separating prior to marriage. If the pastor deems it appropriate, he might suggest a quiet wedding without all the customary formality.
  • The Pre-Marital Questionnaire is to be completed in the presence of a cleric and stored in the archives of the parish.
    • Three (3) banns of marriage are required for two Catholics entering marriage and ought to be published or announced in the proper parish on Sundays or Holy Days.
    • The pastor is competent to dispense from one (1) bann of marriage.
  • Whenever a pastor applies for a dispensation, he has the grave obligation to certify the existence and verity of the reasons provided by the parties. The Eparchial Bishop cannot validly grant a dispensation from a marriage impediment without a just and reasonable cause proportionate to the gravity of the law from which a dispensation is given.
  • Permission to perform a convalidation of an invalid marriage (CCEO cc. 843-847) is to be obtained from the Eparchial Bishop. Request for permission of a convalidation of the marriage of two Catholics should include a request for the dispensation from banns.
  • There must be two (2) witnesses to the Mystery of Crowning. While it would be preferable to have at least one Catholic or Orthodox witness to the Mystery of Crowning, the CCEO contains no requirement that these witnesses be Catholic. Witnesses can be of both sexes; of any age, Catholic or non-Catholic. They must, however, be credible as well as able to understand and truly “witness” to the exchange of vows.
  • The planning of the wedding ceremony should be done in a simple and spiritual way with a view to the idea that the Mystery of Crowning is a reflection of the love of the Church and Christ, and therefore, a celebration of the faith community. The overemphasis or focus on either the bride, groom, or their families must be avoided. The couple must understand that the ceremony is to be carried out according to the rites proper to the Maronite Church and not simply as an accommodation to personal tastes.
  • Special care must be taken, in a prudent and sensitive manner, to instruct the parties who are members of other Catholic Churches regarding the particular character of a Maronite ceremony, lest there be a temptation for syncretism.
    • The Sacred Mystery of Crowning is normally celebrated without the Eucharist; if for any reason a Eucharistic Liturgy is to be celebrated with the Crowning, it should take place outside the normal Liturgy schedule.
    • In the case of an interfaith marriage wherein the non-Catholic party or his/her family would not be able to receive communion, it would be pastorally prudent to have only the Mystery of Crowning.
  • The liturgical character of the penitential season of Great Lent strongly recommends that the celebration of weddings during this season be discouraged. The pastor is competent to decide whether an exception might be made for pastoral reasons, but, in keeping with the season, there is not to be a large, festive celebration.
  • If a priest refuses to bless the marriage of a couple for a serious reason, another pastor should never do so without the prior consultation and permission of the other pastor.

Maronite Parishes In the United States