Information on Marriage for Catholics at Bucknell University and Rooke Chapel

“That is why a man leaves his father and
mother and clings to his wife, and the
two of them become one body.”

-- Genesis 2:24

Congratulations on your engagement and welcome to you who are planning to consecrate your love for one another in the Sacrament of Matrimony! The Sacrament of Matrimony, whereby a man and woman are joined together in a life-long union of procreative love, is a calling from God. The creator established this purpose from the very beginning by the very manner in which He made men and women. Since God created man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves humanity. While the Old Testament gives witness to this loving union, the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament give ample evidence of Jesus' desire to raise this union to a new level of meaning. While in the old covenant the possibility of breaking this union by a decree of divorce is in evidence, Jesus pronounces a new teaching. In Matthew 19:3-12 Jesus teaches, “whatever God has joined no man must separate.” Jesus clearly has a new teaching on the nature of marriage itself; it reflects the indivisible unity of the love of God. In this way, Jesus raised the natural bond of marriage to a supernatural sacrament of life and love. The movement toward this life choice, the union of marriage, is, therefore, a moment requiring careful deliberation and spiritual preparation. With this in mind, we have made the following updates to our marriage preparation policy. The guidelines that follow are designed to help you prepare well for this most important event in your lives. One of your parish priests should be contacted at least one year prior to the desired date of marriage so appropriate arrangements and preparation can be made in this sacred journey.

Spirituality of Becoming 
Married in the Lord

“Married in the Lord”, is how the early followers of Jesus described their spirituality-based marriages. In fact, in the first centuries of Christianity, in the Roman Empire, Christians would experience two ceremonies. They first would marry civilly, but later would seek out a bishop or priest who would assist them in becoming married in the Lord. To be married in the Lord, then and now, adds a huge qualitative difference to a married relationship. In a Catholic marriage, or in a marriage between a Catholic and a Christian from another denomination, the ideal is that both parties are fully initiated into the Body of Christ. In Catholic culture, this means that the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist have been celebrated. Christian marriage is a sacrament of vocation. Having been fully initiated into the Body of Christ, the Church, a person, a couple through marriage, celebrate how they are going to live out their discipleship, as a couple, in a small cell of the Church, the domestic Church of the home.

Becoming married in the Lord is an important notion. Marriage is a process that really begins in our families of origin, continues in patterns of friendships, through dating, and then the experience of attraction to a special someone, exclusive dating, engagement, the public celebration of vows of commitment, and then the months and years after the ceremony of growing more deeply in love and commitment, as a couple simultaneously develops home and family.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the notion of covenant is important. The Old Testament Jewish people believed God was in covenant with them. His love for them was an unbreakable bond. The Old Testament prophet Hosea, and also Isaiah and Jeremiah, began to see in marriage a reflection of God's covenant love. A couple is to have that same kind of unbreakable, faithful love for each other as God had for His people of the Old Testament. St. Paul and the early Christians taught in a similar way, that the marriage covenant is a reflection of the covenant love that Jesus Christ has for us, His Church. In marriage, a couple enters a covenant with each other and with God as Parent (Father), Lord (Jesus), and Companion (Spirit).

Becoming married in the Lord is to experience what the Church calls a Sacrament. A sacrament is much more than a ritual in Church. A sacrament also is to be understood as a process, like the entire marital relationship. There are the months and years of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood which are preparation time for the sacrament of marriage. There are the weeks and months of immediate preparation. There is the actual ceremony. Then begins marriage as a way of life. The Church never prepares people just for rituals. We prepare for the way of life that follows the ritual moments. The way of life that is this Sacrament of marriage is a life-long, unbreakable bond of faithful love, that is both creative for the couple and procreative for society and the Church. A couple, becoming married in the Lord, are a sign to the world of the possibility of committed love and the reality of God's love.

Classically, the word sacramentum (Latin) has connoted two realities. The root meaning in ancient Rome was “vow”, or “pledge”. In each sacrament, a disciple is vowing to God, and the Body of Christ, the Church, to live in a certain way. The vow dimension of sacraments is quite clear in marriage. Sacramentum also connotes the sign function of the sacramental life. Sacramental people live as signs to the world.

Becoming married in the Lord is a process, a covenant, a sacrament, and a mission to the world and Church. Couples do not just marry for each other. Marriage in the Lord sends a couple out in mission to the world, and the Church, to enrich society and the Church with the depth and quality of their self-sacrificial commitment of love to each other. The world and Church ought to be enriched because a man and a woman become married in the Lord, and create home and family with each other.

As is clear, many profound, deep realities are going on in a couple who have decided to become married in the Lord. We in the Marriage Preparation Ministry praise God for your relationship. We will walk with you in preparation and also later when you have joined those who are living the sacrament of marriage.


Scheduling Your Marriage

In keeping with the norms of the Diocese of Harrisburg regarding where sacramental marriages may be celebrated, the Bucknell University Chapel is permitted, by exception, to celebrate weddings onlyif one of the parties is a current student, staff, faculty member, or alumnus” of Bucknell University and the Catholic party must be/have been associated with the Bucknell Catholic Campus Ministry program and with the consent of the couple's home parish(es). Note: The Rite of Catholic Marriage may only be celebrated in Rooke Chapel.

You must schedule your marriage in the RICS Office at the University. The agreement between the University and the Diocese requires the permission of the University CATHOLIC Chaplain before a date may be scheduled. The University Catholic Chaplain cannot guarantee his availability when the University is not in session. If a marriage is scheduled without the prior written permission of the Catholic Chaplain, there is no guarantee that the Chaplain will give approval or will be present for the celebration.

Diocesan regulations state that there must be a minimum of twelve months from when you schedule your marriage and the date of celebration. Marriages are scheduled in Rooke Chapel on Saturdays (not Fridays, due to rehearsals) around liturgical celebrations and other University events. Because of University needs, some weekend dates are not available. The following times are available for weddings:

Marriages may not be scheduled on major holy days, particularly on Christmas or Easter, or during Holy Week. We are also unable to schedule marriage ceremonies during certain vacation periods.

Please call (570) 577-3766 to schedule an appointment with the Catholic Chaplain. Then obtain an information form from the University R.I.C.S. Office. Complete and attach a non-refundable deposit of $100 made payable to: Catholic Campus Ministry, and mail to: Catholic Campus Ministry, Newman House, 610 Saint George Street, Lewisburg, PA 17837-1842.

A date is reserved for a wedding only when approved by the University Catholic Chaplin and the non-refundable deposit of $100 and reservation form have been received by Campus Ministry within three weeks of initial scheduling of the wedding date and time. Upon receipt of the fee and form, a marriage packet containing all the necessary information to plan a wedding at the University Chapel will be sent to you, and to the officiating priest or deacon if not the University Catholic Chaplain.

Rehearsals are usually scheduled the Friday before the wedding date. You may make arrangements for the rehearsal time when you book your wedding or soon thereafter.  Times are scheduled through the University R.I.C.S. Office in consultation with the University Catholic Chaplain. If the University Catholic Chaplain is conducting the ceremony, he will also conduct the rehearsal. If another Catholic Priest/Deacon or minister is celebrating the marriage, he/she will conduct the rehearsal. NOTE: it is best if all members of your wedding party attend the rehearsal. The CCM Office must receive your Marriage License at least two weeks in advance of your wedding date. (Your marriage license must be obtained in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, preferably in the Court of Union County, within sixty days of the date of your wedding date).

For a Reservation form, please contact the University's R.I.C.S. Office.


Planning the Ceremony

A wedding
is one day in your life together --
IS your life together.

We recommend that you use the booklet entitled Together for Life in helping you prepare for your wedding. Many couples have found this publication helpful, not only for planning the wedding liturgy, but also for preparing for their marriage itself. You may obtain a copy of this booklet from the priest/deacon involved in your marriage preparation. Please spend some time reviewing its contents and choosing the various prayers, readings, and blessings that best reflect your understanding of this important event in your lives. Complete the pull-out form at the end and send it to the priest or deacon officiating at your wedding so that he might prepare for the ceremony accordingly.

The University Chapel sacristan will prepare the chapel on the day of the wedding at the scheduled time. Normal items used for the wedding liturgy are provided by the University Chapel, but items such as floral decorations and aisle carpets are not provided. You must arrange for these items yourselves. For your information, the main aisle is 75 feet in length. Other equipment provided includes: Lectern and pulpit microphones; One wireless lapel microphone and one wireless hand held microphone; 2 single kneeling benches with rail; and 5 music stands.

The use of any type of alcoholic beverage in or near Rooke Chapel is inappropriate and is not permitted.

For safety reasons, we cannot allow rice, confetti, bird seed, flower petals, potpourri, pennies, etc., to be thrown inside or outside of Rooke Chapel. Bubbles or bells are permitted outside of Rooke Chapel.

Above all, remember that the University Chapel is a place of worship. We ask that you respect its sacred space.


Late/Clean-up Fee

Weddings are expected to begin at their scheduled times. Multiple weddings or other events may be scheduled for the same day and each wedding is allotted three hours for completion. Therefore, please refer to the reservation schedule when planning the time of your ceremony.

For example, if your wedding is scheduled for 11:00am, the chapel should be clear and ready for your wedding at 10:00am. The bride must be in place and ready to process down the aisle at 11:00am. And the wedding must be completed and cleaned up, including all photography and guests being outside the chapel, by 1:00pm. This allows the next wedding to start at its designated time. Please allow sufficient time to “get (you) to the chapel on time!” Traffic, as you know, is always problematic so please remind your limousine driver, photographer, guests, and members of the wedding party to allow plenty of time to travel to Bucknell.

A Late/Clean-up Fee has been instituted to remind couples gently of the importance of maintaining their schedule and respect the sacred nature of the chapel. We ask that a check for $100 be issued to the Catholic Campus Ministry Office two months prior to the date of the wedding. It should be sent in with the balance of the wedding fee, but must be a separate check. If the wedding begins at its scheduled time and everything has been cleaned up after the ceremony, this check will be voided. If the wedding begins more than ten minutes after its scheduled time, we will have to deposit the late fee. To be clear, the bride must start down the aisle at the scheduled time. Additionally, if the wedding is much later, the check will be deposited and the wedding may have to be shortened to accommodate the next scheduled wedding or liturgy. This will also deprive you of the opportunity to greet your guests, or to take pictures in the chapel. We also ask that you basically clean up any items you bring into the chapel. We certainly do not want to have to take these measures, so please begin at your scheduled time, and be considerate of your guests, your officiant, and our staff, and most importantly, other wedding parties.

Above all, remember that the University Chapel is a place of worship. We ask that you respect its sacred space.


Music and Musicians

The music for your marriage ceremony must be planned with the assistance of the University Chapel Organist at the Bucknell University. The pipe organ and concert grand piano are available for wedding use, but the university organist, Mr. David Cover, reserves the right to approve that the proposed organist will use the pipe organ properly. Mr. David Cover may be contacted by phone at (570) 577-1592 or via email at All music at a Catholic Wedding must comply with Harrisburg Diocesan Guidelines.

The brochure, “Liturgical Guidelines for Planning the Rite of Marriage within the Diocese of Harrisburg” is currently under revision by the Diocesan Office of Worship and will be published and posted as soon as it is approved. Until that time, please contact the Office of the Catholic Chaplain if you have any questions.

A list of organists is available at the RICS Office. Organists should contact the Rooke Chapel Office, 570-577-1592 to schedule rehearsal times, if applicable.



Professional photographers should be as inconspicuous as possible throughout the ceremony. Video-taping that requires additional lighting or wiring is not permitted. In most cases, the ordinary light of the University Chapel should suffice. Photographers using extra lighting will be asked to remove the equipment. Photographers are not allowed in the sanctuary or behind the altar at any time during the ceremony.

ALL photographers MUST complete and submit the “Photographers Agreement Form” which will be included in your packet of information. Failure in this part will result in photographer not authorized to be in Rooke Chapel.

No photographers, professional or amateur, will be permitted to interrupt or delay any part of the ceremony, nor will they be allowed to delay preparations for a subsequent ceremony.


Floral Displays, Candles and Other Items

Floral arrangements and other appointments must work around the furnishings of the University Chapel. Church furnishings and liturgical decorations are not to be moved. All arrangements for your marriage ceremony must be set within an hour before and removed soon after your ceremony. Such arrangements might include bouquets of flowers, bows for center aisle benches, a runner for the processions (all provided by you).

There are 2 candelabras, holding 7 candles each, totaling 14. Candles for the candelabras are provided by the Chapel. In accordance with Harrisburg Diocesan Guidelines, use of the Unity Candle is not permitted. No hand held or aisle pew candles are permitted.


A custodian will be present throughout your reservation. The custodian reserves the right to refuse any last minute requests.


Directions, Maps, and Parking

Directions and maps may be obtained on the University website or other internet sites, ex. “mapquest”.

Vehicles/Parking: A limit of only 4 wedding party vehicles may be driven on the Chapel pathway. Use of the pathway behind the Chapel is permitted for two vehicles only. Vehicles are limited to only automobiles and limousines. Parking on the lawn is prohibited. Parking is available on Moore Avenue and the Stadium Drive parking lot.

Accessibility: Parking for people with disabilities is available in the Stadium Drive lot. An accessible ramp is located on the right side of the Chapel. Listening devices are available upon prior request. A handicapped unisex bathroom is located in the Chapel to the left upon entry. Please advise the RICS Office if you have a person with a disability and require information on accommodations.



Couples should come prepared and ON TIME for the marriage rehearsal, bringing along the readers, gift-bearers, ushers, and anyone else involved in the marriage ceremony. Additionally, the marriage license obtained from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (obtained within 60 days of the wedding) would have already been delivered to the Office of Catholic Campus Ministry at least two weeks prior to the rehearsal. No custodial service or set-ups will be available at rehearsals, including microphones.

Rehearsals are usually scheduled on the Friday before the wedding date at 5 PM, 6 PM, or 7 PM. You may make arrangements for the rehearsal time when you book your wedding or soon thereafter with the RICS Office. The time is booked in the order received. It is best if all members of your wedding party and the officiant performing your marriage attend so that all will be comfortable with their respective roles. Make sure to BE ON TIME. Rehearsals are given a 45-minute time slot and no longer. Therefore, rehearsals that begin late will be shortened. For example, a rehearsal beginning 15 minutes late will last only 30minutes; rehearsals beginning 30 minutes late will last only 15 minutes. No rehearsal will begin until ALL members of the wedding party are present.


Marriage Preparation

All Roman Catholics being married in the University Chapel are required to follow the regulations of the Diocese of Harrisburg regarding marriage. Like the other sacraments of the Catholic Church, marriage requires special preparation. Since the University Chapel is not a parish, your own parish priest/deacon, or the priest/deacon officiating at your marriage (if not the University Catholic Chaplain), must assist you in making the appropriate preparations for your marriage. The following is required:



The Diocese of Harrisburg requires the following in order to have a Catholic marriage at the Bucknell University Chapel. You are responsible for obtaining the documents listed below. Each, with the exception of the civil marriage license, must be completed and returned to the Office of Campus Ministry at least three months before the scheduled date of the ceremony. This will be coordinated with the priest or deacon responsible for your marriage preparation. (Even if the priest or deacon who is to officiate at your wedding is the one who helps you prepare and assemble these documents, he should still send them to our office at least three months prior to the wedding, as we must insure that the marriage may be performed.)

The pastor will work in collaboration/consolation with the University Catholic Chaplain.


Officiating Priest or Deacon if NOT the University Chaplain

Each marriage is unique. Some marriages may require additional attention by the engaged couple and whoever is preparing both parties to celebrate this sacrament. We strongly recommend that you contact your pastor, or the priest or deacon who is to officiate at your wedding, as soon as possible to discuss with him your plans for marriage.

We rely upon this priest or deacon to assist you in gathering the required documents and to assume other responsibilities as well. Besides helping you to complete the Pre-Nuptial Investigation forms and process, he is also to facilitate the following:


For Your Information

The University provides the sacristan, who will be present at the time of the ceremony, but you are responsible for any monetary stipends provided to other persons, including the priest, organist, and musicians. Please be courteous, prepare their stipends ahead of time, and perhaps distribute the stipends before the ceremony so that they will not be forgotten.

Marriages during the Season of Lent

Marriages during the season of Lent should respect the penitential character of the season; that is, a marked moderation in festivity. No flowers are allowed in the sanctuary (CB 252). The celebration of marriage (and the convalidation of marriage) is not permitted during the Easter Triduum (RM 11).

Catholic marriages, duly recorded with all pertinent documents, will be formally registered at Sacred Heart Church which is our parish. In the future, if you should require any documentation regarding your wedding, please contact the parish directly.

Sacred Heart Church
814 Saint Louis Street
Lewisburg, PA 17837


Important Addresses and Telephone Numbers

The registration of Catholic marriages (along with all documents) will take place at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, 814 Saint Louis Street, Lewisburg, PA 17837. This is the parish in which the University is located. In the future, if you need any documentation, please contact the parish directly (570) 523-3104.

The telephone number for the University Chapel Sacristy is (570) 577-1592. Use this number on the day of the marriage since the offices of Campus Ministry will most likely be closed that day.

If you have any questions, please contact us at:

Office of Catholic Campus Ministry
Newman House
610 Saint George Street
Lewisburg, PA 17837-1842

CCM Office Telephone: 570.577.3766
Bucknell University R.I.C.S. Office: 570.577.3095

I hope all of this information will help you in this very sacred and busy time in your lives. If at any time you have questions or concerns, or if there is any way I can be of assistance to you, please just give us a call. Christ’s blessings during this wonderful and exciting time!