at Immaculate Conception Chapel

  • Toomey Wedding Loretto, Pa Wedding 2012

    "A wedding is one day.  A marriage is forever."

  • Congratulations on your engagement!

    For weddings in the Chapel, contact:

    Your wedding ceremony must be celebrated in accord with the norms of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the policies of the Immaculate Conception Chapel.   While the requirements for marriage preparation are fairly standardized, they can differ slightly from one diocese to another.  Those being married elsewhere must follow the marriage preparation requirements of the diocese where the wedding ceremony will be held.  To do this, contact the pastor where you intend to be married to ensure that you are following the necessary steps.  Most dioceses will allow a couple to participate in all or part of a marriage preparation program outside of their diocese. 

    Weddings are permitted only to the following:

    • present students at Saint Francis University;
    • alumni of Saint Francis University;
    • children of an alumnus of Saint Francis University;
    • employees of the University; 
    • University employees' immediate family members, sons, daughters and grandchildren. 

    The only exception to this rule would be at the request of the pastor of the Basilica of St. Michael, Loretto.

    A timeline for your wedding day

    Wedding Timeline:

    1. Schedule your wedding and choose your priest/presider (9-12 months before your wedding).
    2. The Marriage Preparation Program (6-9 months before your wedding).
    3. Contact the priest in charge of your paperwork (at least 6 months before your wedding).
    4. Begin planning for the wedding celebration (at least 6 months before your wedding).
    5. Meet with the presider to finalize plans for your wedding, and complete diocesan paper work (3 months before your wedding).

    As a couple preparing for marriage at Immaculate Conception Chapel, you probably have many questions about where to begin the process.  The following will outline the steps you will need to take, in their proper order.  These steps are discussed in further detail in the subsequent sections.  Please read this carefully and hold on to it for reference throughout your planning.


    Step 1: Schedule your wedding, and choose your priest/presider.

    • Schedule your wedding:  Contact Denise Farabaugh at 814-472-3172 to make a tentative reservation of your date.  It is necessary to make this reservation 9-12 months in advance. Note: There is a Chapel use fee of $650.00 for all weddings celebrated in the Immaculate Conception Chapel.  This fee covers administrative and operational expenditures and also the stipend for the Sacristan.  It does not include stipends for:  Presiding priest(s), Musicians, Cantors, Servers or any other ministers.  The $100 deposit for the Chapel is due upon reserving the Chapel, and the remaining $550 is due one month prior to the wedding.
    • The priest for your wedding: The question of who officiates at your wedding is an important one. Choosing the priest is an invitation that the couple extends to, hopefully someone they know and trust, someone with whom they are comfortable in his role as representative of the Church. Any priest in good standing, approved and delegated, by the Pastor of Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel and the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, may preside at your wedding. If this priest will be working with you on the paperwork mentioned in Step 2, the Chapel will send him all the necessary documents. However, if he cannot help you, please contact Denise Farabaugh so other accommodations can be set up.

    Step 2: The Marriage Preparation Program (6-9 months prior).

    Like the other sacraments you have already received, the sacrament of marriage requires some special preparation by the couple to be married. The Marriage Preparation Program is required for all couples who are getting married in the Immaculate Conception Chapel. The Marriage Preparation Program is designed to:

    • Help you understand more fully the primary elements of Christian marriage;
    • Provide you opportunities to reflect more deeply on your relationship, your future, and the Lord’s presence in your lives;
    • Help you reaffirm your commitment to each other, to deepen your love for each other, and to approach your married life enthusiastically and realistically.

    Step 3: Contact the priest responsible for your paperwork (6 months prior).

    The Chapel requires a number of documents before you can be married.  In some situations, obtaining them may require considerable time.  With your priest, you will gather and complete the following forms, all of which must be submitted to the Chapel Office no later than three months prior to the wedding.

    • Baptismal Certificates: These certificates must be issued by the parish where you were baptized, no more than six months before your wedding, and you must have both sides of the certificate. You cannot use your original baptismal certificates or copies of the originals for this purpose.
    • Declaration of Matrimonial Intent: Each fiancé answers this questionnaire with the priest.  Its purpose is to provide a legal statement of freedom and right intention to marry.
    • Release letter: Weddings usually take place in the parish of the bride.  As a courtesy, the Chapel requires the permission of the Catholic pastor for the marriage to occur at Immaculate Conception Chapel.
    • Marriage Preparation Certificates: You will receive a certificate at the completion of the Marriage Preparation Program.  These certificates must be submitted to the priest as soon as the requirements have been completed.
    • Civil Marriage License: You cannot get married without a Pennsylvania marriage license, and it must be given to the priest several days prior to the wedding rehearsal.
    • FOCCUS Questionnaire:  This is given by the priest and scored by the Diocese.  

    Step 4: Plan your wedding celebration (6 months prior).

    When the time comes to plan your wedding day, the priest who will help you with your marriage preparation and/ or the priest who will preside at your wedding will help you with this task. To plan your wedding ceremony, the following is a step-by-step approach that may be helpful.

    • Select your Scripture readings: a collection of these may be found in the planning guide “Together for Life” and is available from your priest.
    • Bring your readings and ideas to the priest to plan the details surrounding your ceremony.
    • Call the Director of Music Ministries at the Immaculate Conception Chapel (Fr. John Mark Klaus, TOR: 814-472-2750) to begin musical preparation of the wedding liturgy.  The Director of Music Ministry must approve all music selected for the wedding liturgy. The music must be appropriate for a sacred liturgical celebration.
    • No CDs or other pre-recorded music will be allowed.
    • No secular texts will be allowed.

    Note: The Chapel does not provide musicians.  However, the director can recommend some musicians who may be willing, and able, to play at your wedding. A stipend should be paid to these musicians.
    Note: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are to be active member of the Catholic faith and commissioned by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.


    Step 5: Final meeting with the priest (3 months prior).

    Three months before your wedding celebration, you should be in touch, again, with the priest.  As noted earlier, the priest performing your wedding will be at both the rehearsal and wedding itself, in order to help facilitate the celebration.  You should have all the plans for your wedding finalized at this time.  This includes choices of sacred music and the rituals surrounding your celebration.  In the case you still have last-minute questions concerning  what may or may not be done at Immaculate Conception Chapel, the celebrating priest will help you with the answers to these questions. Finally, and most importantly, all of your diocesan paperwork must be on file in the Chapel Office by this time.

    **Marriage licenses must be from Pennsylvania and must not be older than 60 days.  The following is the contact information for the Cambria County Courthouse:

    Cambria County Courthouse
    Register & Clerk of Orphans' Court
    200 South Center Street
    Ebensburg, PA 15931
    814.472.5440, ext. 243
    9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. / M - F
    $45, cash only, for a marriage license.
    Closed for holidays.