I recently got married. I got married in the church where I am an active participant. My music team consisted entirely of people who volunteered because I am actively involved in music ministry (actually, I didn’t know ANY of them would be there. They attended as a ‘wedding surprise’ for me).
I have been a member of this parish over 7 years and have been actively involved in their music ministry just as long.
Two weeks after the wedding I received a message from the secretary informing me I needed to pay a ‘wedding fee’. Prior to this I had intended to give a gift to the church as I felt that was appropriate but the whole ‘we are charging you for this sacrament’ thing put me off just a tiny bit.
It seems somehow inappropriate to me for the Church to be charging for sacraments. I could maybe understand if I were an outsider but this is my home parish.
Now, I’m not looking to attack my particular parish in this post. What I’m wondering is what are your thoughts.
Should members of a parish be charged fees for sacraments?
I have heard the excuses: Choir fees, cost of having church open, etc. This was a summer wedding. No air conditioning in the church. It literally cost nothing to have us there except the priests time. I brought my own altar servers, the choir entirely volunteered their own time. Literally the only thing I took from the Church in this was their secretary had to fill out some paperwork and the priests time. So that particular ‘reasoning’ for the wedding fee just doesn’t sit right with me.
I also wonder about those who are not so fortunate. We actually are one of those. We strung together a wedding on a shoestring budget. We set ASIDE money for the Church because to me it was important but again it’s the fact that they’re ‘charging’ that isn’t sitting well. I always intended to give them something as I’m grateful to the priest but it just doesn’t feel right to be ‘charged’ for sacraments!
What do low income people do? Take up payment plans with the Church just so they can be married in the eyes of God?
Bit baffled here.
PS: I did see there were some old topics about this but I felt I wanted to be a bit broader. I don’t want to just examine my parish but the question of whether this is ‘appropriate’ or not across the board.
PPS: After reading responses I felt it was appropriate to mention that I’m a convert. The church I came from before converting never charged for weddings, funerals, anything at all. So I’m coming from that perspective. I’ve only been Catholic 7 years and am still learning.