Weddings

Getting Married at St Francis

Modelled on St Francis’s own chapel at Assisi, and set in the magnificent natural grandeur of Little Valley, Estes Park, St Francis Church is an ideal place for a small wedding. The church can comfortably hold some forty people, and the adjoining Wells Hall can be used for a reception after the ceremony.

For civil requirements with regard to marriage, please consult https://www.colorado.gov/colorado-how-do-i/living-here-get-married.html or contact your local clerk of court’s office.

The church also has certain requirements. These are not legalistic obstacles to throw in your path; they are designed – and the church has two thousand years of experience in this matter – they are designed to ensure not only that you have a wonderful wedding day, but that you are prepared for marriage, that is, the whole of the rest of your lives together as husband and wife.

First, you must obtain a marriage licence from the clerk of court’s office, which they must present to the officiating clergyman, who will sign it after the ceremony and return it to the clerk’s office.

Second, you must be able to give proof that they have received the sacrament of baptism, administered with water in the Name of the Trinity.  This can be done by contacting the church where you were baptized. (A partial dispensation to this requirement may be granted, if one of you at least has been baptized.)

Third, you must go through a period of preparation. Usually this requirement is fulfilled by attending a ‘pre-Cana’ retreat. Preparation may, however, be undertaken with your own pastor, or with the rector of St Francis. You must give evidence of preparation before the wedding ceremony.

Fourthly, once you must both sign the following declaration:

"We, Names, and Names, desiring to receive the blessing of holy matrimony in the church, do solem nly declare that we hold marriage to be a lifelong union of husband and wife as it is set forth in the Form of Solemnization of Holy Matrimony in the Book of Common Prayer. We believe it is for the purpose of mutual fellowship, encouragement, and understanding, for the procreation (if it may be) of children, and their physical and spiritual nurture, for the safeguarding and benefit of society. And we do engage ourselves, so far as in us lies, to make our utmost effort to establish this relationship and to seek God's help thereto."

Fifthly, you must be free from the impediments to marriage listed by the canon 16 of the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in America. That is to say:

1.     They must not be related within the forbidden degrees (parents-children; brothers-sisters; uncles/aunts – nieces/nephews;  including  those relationships were there is only a half-blood relationship, as, for example, children of the same father but a different mother);

2.      Each party must be certain of the identity of the other;

3.      Each party must be mentally competent to understand the nature and obligations of the marriage contract;

4.     Each party must be free from mental illness;

5.     Each party must be capable of performing the marriage act; be free from sexual perversion; and from venereal disease undisclosed to the other party;

6.      Each party must intend to assume the obligations arising from the marriage contract;

7.     Each party must be willing to enter into the marriage contract freely and without duress;

8.     Each party must be free from such a defect of personality as would make free or competent consent impossible;

9.      Each party must be free from contractual obligations inconsistent with the contract constituting canonical marriage (for example, an existing marriage; or the obligations arising from a previous marriage).

With regard to an existing marriage, the canons state:

No Minister of this Church shall solemnize the marriage of any person who has been the husband or wife of any other person then living whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by the civil court, except as hereinafter in these Canons provided; nor shall any member of the Church enter upon a marriage when either of the contracting parties has been the husband or the wife of any other person then living whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court, except as hereinafter in these Canons provided.

The canons provide that a previous marriage may be declared null by a competent judge. In the case of St Francis, this is the bishop of the diocese, to whom an application may be made through the priest in charge.

Sixthly, there must be two witnesses to the marriage.

Seventhly, except in exceptional circumstances, St Francis does not celebrate weddings in Advent or Lent; and in no circumstances will a marriage be celebrated in the week prior to Easter. This is because these times are marked by a spirit of penitence incompatible with the joy of the marriage celebration.

For Christians marriage is a sacrament, that is to say a sacred sign; it points us to the love of God for His people and of Jesus for His church. For this reason, marriage is ‘not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly,’ (Book of Common Prayer, 300). It is a contract made by the parties in the presence of God: a contract which obliges to lifelong love and exclusive fidelity, as well as demanding an opening to the possibility of children. Because it is not always by any means easy to fulfil the obligations of marriage, God gives His grace to the parties: both initially in the marriage service itself, but also subsequently in response to their prayers. This is why Christian marriage demands faith and love, as well as obedience to the rules about the relationship between husbands and wives laid down in sacred scripture.

All this is expressed in the marriage rite of the church: nonetheless, the celebrants of the sacrament are the spouses themselves who make the marriage contract. It is their day, and for this reason St Francis will seek to accommodate their wishes and desires as far as possible, making their wedding ceremony an event to remember and cherish throughout their lives.

If you would like to explore the possibility of getting married at St Francis, please contact Fr David, the rector, either by e-mail: mccreadd@tcd.ie or via the church office: 970-577-0601. 

 

Order for the Celebration of Holy Matrimony

Introduction

In celebrating the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, Christians proclaim the communion of love between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5: 32) and ask God’s blessing on the new couple that their nuptial union might be the sacramental sign of this same love.

 Normally the celebration of marriage takes place during the eucharist because in the eucharist the memorial of the new covenant is realized, this covenant in which Christ has united himself forever to the Church, His beloved bride for whom he gave Himself up to death’ (Ephesians 5: 25). It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for His Church made present in the eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but ‘one body’ in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 10: 17). This norm need not, however, always be observed.

According to the tradition of the western church, the spouses themselves are the ministers of the sacrament, for which reason their legitimate desires and wishes about the celebration of the ceremony should be respected and accommodated. 

When the bride and groom have come to stand before the altar, the priest shall begin the ceremony in these or similar words:

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the presence of this congregation, to witness the joining together of this man and this woman [or N and N] in holy matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God Himself, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church; which holy estate Christ

adorned and beautified with His presence, and first miracle that He wrought, in Cana of Galilee, and is commended in holy writ to be honourable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly; but reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained:

First, it was ordained for the increase of mankind according to the will of God, and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of His holy Name.

Secondly, it was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God, should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate, should continue therein in pureness of living.

Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any one can show any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

Speaking to the persons that shall be married the priest shall say these or similar words:

I require and charge you both [as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed,] that if either of you know of any impediment, why you may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony.

 [If mass is celebrated, the Kyrie and Gloria are now sung.]

The Lord be with you.

And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

The priest then says one of the collects following, chosen by the spouses:

God our Father, who by Thy holy Apostle hast taught us that love is the fulfilling of the law: grant to these Thy servants, N and N, that, loving one another, they may continue in Thy love unto their lives' end; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. Amen.

Eternal God, we humbly beseech Thee, favourably to behold these Thy servants, N and N, about to be joined together in marriage according to Thy holy ordinance; and grant that they, seeking first Thy kingdom and Thy righteousness, may obtain the manifold blessings of Thy grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee inthe unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. Amen.

Gracious and ever‐living God, who hast created us male and female in Thine own image: look mercifully upon N and N who come before thee seeking Thy blessing, and assist them with thy grace; that with utmost fidelity and steadfast love they may honour and keep the promises and vows they make; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. Amen.

When the marriage is celebrated outside of mass, the following may also be used:

Father, You have made the bond of marriage a holy mystery, a symbol of Christ’s love for his Church. Hear our prayers for N and N. With faith in You and in each other, they pledge their love today. May their lives always bear witness to the reality of that love. We ask it through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. Amen.

Father, hear our prayers for N and N, who today are united in marriage before Your altar. Give them Your blessing, and strengthen their love for each other. We ask you this through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

When the mass is celebrated the epistle (readings A-I) and Gospel (readings J-L) are then read. The epistle may be read by a friend of the spouses. Outside of mass, any one or two reading may be used. The texts are chosen by the spouses from those given below. Should they desire an additional passage to be read from something other than scripture, this may be done after the homily.

A.

 God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
 

B.

The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him.”
So the Lord God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep,
he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib
that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
This one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one body.

C.

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and makes cloth with skillful hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
 

D.

Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm;
For love is strong as death
devotion as relentless as the grave;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor floods sweep it away.
 

E.

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
 

F.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 

G.

Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the Church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the Church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the Church,
because we are members of his Body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,
and the wife should respect her husband.

 

H.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
 

I.

Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one Body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
 

J.

One of the Pharisees, a scholar of the law, tested Jesus by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

K.

Jesus said:
“From the beginning of creation,
God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
 

L.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
 

When the mass is celebrated, the creed is said, after which the priest gives the homily. Outside of mass, the creed is omitted.

After this, the exchange of vows is made as follows. With the couple standing before him, the man on the right, the woman on the left, the priest shall say to the man:

N, wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together

according to God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt

thou love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, in sickness and in

health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as you

both shall live?

 

The man shall answer:

I will.

 

The priest shall then say to the woman:

N, wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband, to live together

according to God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt

thou [obey him, and serve him], love him, honour, and keep him in sickness

and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so

long as you both shall live?

 

The woman shall answer:

I will.

 

The priest may receive the woman at her father’s hand or that of a friend. In this case, the priest says:

Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?

 

The priest  shall cause the man with his right hand to

take the woman by her right hand, and to say after him as follows:

 

I, N, take thee, N, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day

forward, for better, for worse: for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in

health; to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's

holy law; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

 

Then shall they loose their hands; and the woman, with her right

hand taking the man by his right hand, shall likewise say after the

priest  one or other of these vows:

 

I, N, take thee, N, to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this

day forward, for better, for worse: for richer, for poorer; in sickness

and in health; to love, cherish, [and to obey], till death us do part,

according to God's holy law; and thereto I give thee my troth.

 

Then the priest says:

In the sight of God and in the presence of this congregation, I witness and receive the consent of this couple in the name of the Church.

 

Then they shall again loose their hands, while the rings are presented. The priest says:

Bless, + O Lord, these ring, and grant that those who wear them may remain faithful to each other, and abide in thy peace and favour, and live together in love until their lives' end. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

The man then places the ring on the woman’s finger, saying after the priest:

With this ring I thee wed and with my body I thee worship: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

 

The woman then places the ring on her husband’s finger, saying, after the priest:

With this ring I thee wed and with my body I thee worship: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

 

Then the priest joins their right hands together, laying on them his stole and saying:

Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.

 

Then the priest says to the people:

Forasmuch as N and N have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a ring and by joining of

hands; I pronounce that they be man and wife together, In the Name

of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

 

And the spouses may kiss.

When the mass is celebrated it then continues as usual until the end of the canon.

 

Then the priest says:

Let us pray. [And now, as our Saviour Christ hath taught and commanded, we are bold to say:]

 

Our Father.

 

After the Our Father, the priest says:

O eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, giver of allspiritual grace, the author of everlasting life: send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that, living faithfully together, they may surely perform andkeep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof the  rings given and received are a token and pledge; and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[O merciful Lord and heavenly Father, by whose gracious gift mankind is increased; bestow, we beseech thee, upon these two persons the heritage and gift of children; and grant that they may see their children christianly and virtuously brought up to thy praise and honour, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.]

O God, who hast taught us that it should never be lawful to put asunder those whom thou by Matrimony hadst made one, and hast consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an excellent mystery, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual marriage and unity

betwixt Christ and his Church: Look mercifully upon these thy servants, that both this man may love his wife, according to thy Word, as Christ did love his spouse the Church, who gave himself for her, loving and cherishing her even as his own flesh, and also that this woman may be loving and amiable, and faithful to her husband, and in all quietness, sobriety, and peace, be a follower of holy and godly women. O Lord, bless them both, and grant them to inherit thy everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Or:

 

O eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, giver of all spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life: send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that, living faithfully together, they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof the rings given and received are a token and pledge; and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[O Almighty God, Creator of mankind, who only art the wellspring of life; bestow upon these thy servants, if it be thy will, the gift and heritage of children; and grant that they may see their children brought up in thy faith and fear, to the honour and glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.]

O God, who hast so consecrated the state of Matrimony that in it is represented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and his Church; look mercifully upon these thy servants, that they may love, honour, and cherish each other, and so live together in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing and of peace; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

 

Or, when mass has not been celebrated:

Father, when you created us, You made man and woman to be joined as husband and wife in union of body and heart; and when You had redeemed us You made marriage to signify the love of Christ for His Church. Sanctify now, we pray, this man and this woman, so that they may always live together in love and fidelity [and enrich the world with children.]  We ask it through the same Christ Your Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. Amen.

 

At the end of the service, the priest blesses the couple, saying:

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favour look upon you; and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that you may so live together in this life, that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.

 

Or:

 

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Pour upon you the riches of his grace, sanctify and bless you, that you may please him both in body and soul, and live together in holy love unto your lives’ end. Amen.

 

Or:

The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace this day and for evermore. Amen.

 

Then the final blessing and dismissal is given.