Saint Luke Church

     Westport, Connecticut

    Sacraments

 

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Christian Initiation for Adults

Saint Luke Parish provides an ongoing process for those interested in finding out more about becoming a member of the Catholic Church.  This process is intended for those who were never baptized, as well as adults who were once validly baptized in another Christian denomination and now wish to become Roman Catholics.  If you have a relative, a close friend or neighbor who has expressed an interest in the Catholic Church, please let them know that they can contact Sister Maureen Fleming at 222-0478, ext. 35, for more information.  We welcome inquirers at any time of the year.

Children over the age of 6
Church law considers those who are at or above the age of reason to be adults for the purposes of Christian Initiation.  Children who are six years of age or older must follow a program of formation and rituals similar to that used for the Christian Initiation of adults, ordinarily lasting about one year. 

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Baptism for Infants and Children

Baptisms for Infants and young children (newborns through 5 years of age) are celebrated throughout the year (except during the season of Lent) on Sundays at 12:15 pm.

(For information on the Baptism of Children who are six years of age and older, please see the section regarding the Baptism of Adults.)

In certain cases, the parents who request baptism for an infant or young child are not registered members of Saint Luke Parish (as is the case when the parents return here for the baptism and the grandparents are registered members).  In such a case, the parents must obtain a letter from the pastor of the parish in which they are registered (or, if not formally registered, the parish in which they reside), giving permission for the child to be baptized at Saint Luke Parish. [back to top of page]

Pre-Baptism Sessions for Parents

Parents, who are for the first time presenting a child for baptism, are required to participate in a Parents’ Pre-Baptismal Preparation Session.  These are generally held on the second Sunday of January, March, May, July, September and November.  If they have already participated in such sessions at another parish, the parents must present a letter from that parish certifying that they have completed such preparation.

Please call the Parish Office (203-227-7245) to register for the Baptism and, if needed, the Pre-Baptismal Preparation.   [back to top of page]

Godparents

Each infant or young child who is to be baptized must have at least one godparent.  Customarily, an infant or a young child who is baptized has both a godmother and a godfather.  Church Law (Canon 873) specifies that “Only one male or one female…or one of each sex is to be employed” for this ministry.  The parents of the child to be baptized are prohibited from fulfilling the role of godparent for their own child.  

Canon 874 specifies that a godparent must be at least sixteen years of age; must be a Catholic who is confirmed and has received First Communion; a person who lives a life in harmony with the Catholic faith and intends to carry out the role of godparent.  Prospective godparents who are NOT members of Saint Luke Parish must obtain a letter from their own pastor certifying that they fulfill the requirements listed above. This letter is to be presented at the time of the baptism.

Non-Catholics and Non-Christians
Regarding the question of a non-Catholic Christian serving in this capacity: By definition, a “godparent” is a Catholic as described above.  According to Canon 874, “a baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic community may not be admitted except as a witness to baptism and together with a Catholic [godparent].”  A non-baptized person (for example, a person of the Jewish or Islamic faith) is not permitted to serve even as a witness.  This prohibition does not disrespect the faith of non-Christians; rather, it emphasizes the primary role of the godparent: to be a person who will give the child clear and personal example of faithful Catholic values and living.

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Confirmation

For Adults

CATHOLICS OVER THE AGE OF 18 who have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation receive this sacrament at a Diocesan celebration of Confirmation for Adults, usually on Pentecost Sunday (late May-early June).  Refresher sessions on the Catholic faith are offered by the Diocese of Bridgeport on seven consecutive Wednesdays prior to that celebration.  For more information, call the Diocesan Coordinator of Adult Confirmation at 203-372-4301.

For Youth

Click here to go our Parish Religious Formation Page

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First Eucharist

For Adults

Please contact Mrs. Jacqueline Frusciante in our Religious Formation Office at 203-226-0729 or e-mail her at jac1220@aol.com

For Youth

Click here to go our Parish Religious Formation Page

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Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation ("Confessions") is offered every Saturday from 4:30 to 5:15 pm.  Other times can be arranged by making an appointment with one of our parish priests through the Parish Office (203-227-7245.

Communal Reconciliation services are offered during Advent and Lent.
Please see the News and Events page to see if upcoming dates have been scheduled.

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Anointing of the Sick

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is arranged by calling the Parish Office (203-227-7245).  Those who have been admitted to the hospital are customarily anointed by the Catholic Chaplain of the hospital; if there is any question as to whether a person who is seriously ill or preparing for surgery has been anointed, an immediate family member should inquire at the nurse's station.

Saint Luke Parish also celebrates a quarterly  communal anointing service at the Staurday 5:30 pm Mass in January, April, July and October.  Please see the News and Events page to see if the upcoming date has been scheduled.

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Marriage

At the present time, a separate publication is being prepared on this subject. Tentatively titled “Celebrating Your Wedding at Saint Luke Parish,” it will contain a complete description of the requirements and procedures for the planning and celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. When the publication is completed, the text will be available on this web site.  In the interim, answers to some of the more frequently-asked questions may be found below:

Who may celebrate their wedding at Saint Luke Church?

Both the prospective bride and groom must, above all, be free to marry in the Catholic Church. This means that no impediments exist according to Canon Law which would prevent the valid celebration of this sacrament. The most frequently encountered impediment is that of a prior marriage for which no declaration of nullity (often referred to as an “annulment”) has been granted. The initial conversation with the priest or deacon will ascertain whether or not any impediments exist.

What is an "annulment"?  Click HERE to find out more...

Furthermore, one of the following must apply:

  • At least one of the engaged couple is currently a parishioner of Saint Luke Parish;

  • At least one of the engaged couple has a parent or grandparent who is currently a parishioner of Saint Luke Parish;

  • At least one of the engaged couple was a member of Saint Luke Parish at one time and has celebrated other sacraments in this parish in the past as established in our records.

Since sacraments are ideally celebrated within the parish where a person is registered and regularly worships, Saint Luke Church does NOT accept requests from non-parishioners to celebrate weddings here for the sake of proximity to the location of the wedding reception or other similar reasons.  An exception to this rule will be granted if the couple has a priest from their own parish who will be responsible for ALL of the following:

  • The necessary pre-matrimonial investigation (the paperwork must be sent to our office for inclusion in our records);

  • The necessary pre-matrimonial counseling and preparation;

  • The wedding rehearsal, and

  • The wedding ceremony.

Setting a Date and Time

Only when it has been established that both the prospective bride and groom are free to marry in the Catholic Church and that they fulfill the other applicable requirements stated in the section on “Who may celebrate their wedding at Saint Luke Church?” will a wedding date be set.

The wedding date will be set by a priest or deacon of Saint Luke Parish in conversation with the bride and/or groom.  In NO case will a wedding date and time be booked through a third party.

Weddings may be celebrated at the following starting times, subject to prior commitments of the facilities:

  • Fridays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

  • Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm (the church must be vacated by 4:00 pm for cleanup and the beginning of the regularly scheduled time for confessions) or at 7:00 pm

  • Sundays at 2:00, 2:30 or 3:00 pm

Requests for scheduling weddings at other days and times (such as on legal holidays) are considered on a case-by-case basis.

In all cases, the minimum of a two-hour time slot is required for weddings so as to allow for set-ups by the florist and maintenance staff; for preparations by the clergy and musicians; for a receiving line and photographs after the wedding and for cleanup and set-up for the next scheduled parish event.

Timeline for Preparation

In order to fulfill the canonical requirements that they be properly prepared for marriage, the couple should make the initial contact with a priest or deacon of the parish a minimum of six months (ideally, one year) in advance of the wedding date desired.

Who officiates at the Wedding?

With the exception of a wedding in which the couple is required to obtain the services of their own priest, a priest or deacon of the parish ordinarily officiates at weddings of parishioners celebrated at Saint Luke Church.

A priest or deacon (in good standing in their own diocese or religious order) who is a friend or relative of the bride, the groom, or one of their families is most welcome to officiate at the wedding of a parishioner.  In such a case, a member of Saint Luke’s clergy staff will complete the necessary paperwork with the couple; the guest officiant will be responsible for working out the details of the ceremony with the couple (subject to the requirements for music and liturgy found elsewhere in this booklet), the wedding rehearsal and the ceremony itself.

Clergy officiating at the weddings of non-parishioners are also responsible for conducting the pre-matrimonial investigation and sending the paperwork to Saint Luke Parish for inclusion in our records.

Arranging for Music

Once the wedding date has been set and entered into the parish schedule, the couple should contact Mr. Leon Bernard, the parish Music Minister, to make arrangements.  Since our Catholic understanding of marriage is founded on its being a reflection of the irrevocable love of Jesus Christ for his Church, all music used at weddings must reflect the sacredness of marriage and the church in which it is taking place.  Mr. Bernard will be happy to guide couples in the selection of appropriate music.

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Funerals

“In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life, and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity…At the funeral rites, especially at the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice, the Christian community affirms and expresses the union of the Church on earth with the Church in heaven in the one great communion of saints. … While proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and witnessing to Christian hope in the resurrection, the funeral rites also recall to all who take part in them God’s mercy and judgment and meet the human need to turn always to God in times of crisis.”

From the “General Introduction” to the Order of Christian Funerals

 

In the current custom of our area and time, many of the preparations for a funeral service are arranged through the funeral director chosen by the family.  The director will discuss various options, including the day and the time of the funeral, with the family and then confirm these with the parish office.  The staff of Saint Luke Parish stands ready to assist the family in whatever way possible in the planning of a funeral for a loved one, not only when a death has already occurred but in advance planning as well.

 

Day and Time of Funeral

Funerals may be celebrated on most days of the year.  (Although it is not the custom in this part of the world, most people would be surprised to learn that the Church’s calendar permits the celebration of a funeral Mass even on the Sundays of that season called “Ordinary Time”!)  However, please note that there are certain holy days and feasts on which funeral Masses are not permitted by liturgical law.  The practical consideration that most often governs the choice of day and time is the schedule of the various cemeteries and their workers.  Your funeral director will inquire about your preferences for day and time and then discuss these with our parish office on your behalf.

 

The Vigil or “Wake”

Most often, the family of the deceased chooses to have a time when they will receive visitors on the day before the funeral.  The Catholic funeral ritual provides several options for a prayer service which takes place at some point during these calling hours, typically in the evening.  This service is usually led by a priest or a deacon, but may also be led by a lay person who has been trained for this ministry.

 

Choice of Readings and Music

The Catholic funeral service proclaims the hope and consolation that is given to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This central focus must therefore govern the choices that are made in planning the elements of the funeral service.  The readings that are used at a Catholic funeral must come from the Bible; if there is a particular non-biblical reading that the family would like to use, it finds its appropriate place either during the gathering at the funeral home or incorporated into the Remarks of Remembrance (see "Eulogy," below).

 

The Church’s directives for the music used at funerals reflects the same concern: “The texts of the songs chosen for a particular celebration should express the paschal mystery of the Lord’s suffering, death, and triumph over death and should be related to the readings from Scripture.”  If the family wishes a certain non-religious “favorite song” of the deceased to be incorporated into the funeral, it likewise should be used during the gathering at the funeral home or as a part of the Remarks of Remembrance.  Our Music Ministry Staff will be happy to assist the family in making these choices, and in arranging for soloists and/or other instrumentalists as the family desires.

 

Remarks of Remembrance ("Eulogy")

Although the directives of the Church prohibit a eulogy to substitute for the homily that is preached on the readings, these same directives provide that “a member or friend of the family may speak in remembrance of the deceased before the final commendation” of the funeral service.  If the family of the deceased wishes for such a remembrance to take place at the funeral, it is the policy of Saint Luke Parish that only ONE individual be chosen to speak during the church service.  The individual chosen should be one who is capable of speaking clearly and in a composed manner.  Indeed, the Church expresses its concern on this point when its directives state that family and friends “should not be asked to assume any role that their grief or sense of loss may make too burdensome.” 

Furthermore, the text of the eulogy is to be WRITTEN out beforehand and not to be delivered in an extemporaneous or “off-the-cuff” manner, so that the eulogy shall be limited to a maximum duration of five to seven minutes.  The content must reflect the sacredness of the Catholic funeral by avoiding any material of inappropriate humor or content that is disrespectful of the deceased.  Indeed, the ideal held up by the Catholic Church is that a eulogy should focus more on giving God praise and thanksgiving for the blessings that He bestowed upon the deceased during this life, and less on a recitation of what the deceased person accomplished.

If the family wishes to provide an opportunity for others to speak in remembrance of the deceased, this may be done most appropriately during the gathering at the funeral home or even at the gathering which typically follows the burial.

 

Cremation

The text which follows is quoted from “Reflections on the Body, Cremation, and Catholic Funeral Rites” published by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy in 1997.

“The long-standing practice of burying the body of the deceased in a grave or tomb in imitation of the burial of Jesus’ body continues to be encouraged as a sign of Christian faith.  However, owing to contemporary cultural interaction, the practice of cremation has become part of Catholic practice in the United States and other parts of the Western world. …Although cremation is now permitted, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial or entombment of the body of the deceased.  Likewise, the Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for its funeral rites, since the presence of the body better expresses the values that the Church affirms in its rites…the presence of the body most clearly brings to mind the life and death of the person.

 “…However, when circumstances prevent the presence of the body at the funeral liturgy, …it is appropriate that the cremated remains of the body be present for the full course of the funeral rites, including the Vigil for the Deceased [the “wake”], the Funeral Liturgy, and the Rite of Committal.  The funeral liturgy should always be celebrated in a church.  The cremated remains of the body should then be reverently buried or entombed in a cemetery or mausoleum….The practices of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.

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