Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that one, at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church. The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.
- Book of Common Prayer 1979
In this spirit, the Cathedral and the Harris Memorial Chapel are available for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony for members of the Parish, listed in the current parish Directory and their immediate family members. Persons meeting these criteria should schedule a meeting with one of the Cathedral Clergy to discuss policies and procedures with regard to scheduling a wedding.
Episcopalians in the Diocese of Louisiana who are not members of the Cathedral should have their Rector, Vicar or priest-in-Charge write a letter to the Dean requesting that the Cathedral celebrate their marriage.
On occasion, it is possible to schedule weddings for Episcopalians outside of the diocese of Louisiana who are active in their home parishes. To request that this take place, the potential candidates should ask their Rector, Vicar, or Priest-in-Charge write a letter to the Dean requesting that the Cathedral celebrate the marriage.
Once this letter has been received a Cathedral staff person will contact the potential bride or groom to schedule an initial appointment in order to discuss the a Cathedral Wedding.
We cannot schedule a wedding at the Cathedral until this initial meeting has taken place. You may address inquiries or questions to Canon Steven Roberts.
The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant
Liturgical Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships
Effective December 2, 2012, the Bishop of Louisiana has authorized the clergy and congregations of the Diocese of Louisiana to use the liturgical materials approved by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church for the blessing of same sex relationships. Bishop Thompson has released a policy for the implementation of this rite and the Dean, in consultation with the Cathedral Clergy and Vestry, has articulated the following policy for Cathedral use effective Easter 2013.
For a same-sex couple to be eligible to enter into the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant:
- At least one member of the couple must be a baptized Christian;
- At least one member of the couple should be an active member of this worshipping community; (in special pastoral circumstances the Bishop may authorize persons who are active in another parish within the Diocese of Louisiana to have their relationship blessed in the Cathedral)
- Both members of the couple have provided documented evidence of the dissolution of any and all former marriages or covenant relationships in which either of them have formally entered;
- Both members of the couple have disclosed any efforts they have made prior to presentation to the clergy to secure a blessing of their relationship by other clergy;
- Both members of the couple have participated in an appropriate level of preparation for the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant.
Preparation for the couple will include, at a minimum:
- An appropriate level of counseling for the couple as outlined in the document, Hearing, Seeing, and Declaring New Things: Preparing Same-sex Couples for a Liturgy of Blessing, found in the 2012 Blue Book, beginning on page 222;
- A detailed review of the theological meaning of the rite itself;
- The selection of scripture and music to be used;
- Decisions with regard to the inclusion of certain optional elements of the rite (e.g. sponsors, involvement of children);
The Cathedral has prepared a customary based on the materials provided by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) and the officiating clergy person will review this customary with the couple during the preparation meetings.