Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find some questions to which people are frequently seeking answers. This list is not exhaustive so if you have any other queries please contact one of the priests or the parish office.
I am new to the parish and wish to know how to register my family and how I might have my house blessed?
Firstly, welcome to our parish. To register your family telephone Anne at the parish office, 7963 3635, and she will be happy to take your details. Any of the priests of the parish would be happy to visit your family and bless your house just give them a call to make an arrangement. If you have children you will notice from our website that we have excellent parish schools in which you may wish to enrol your children.
I wish to have my baby baptised, who do I contact to make arrangements?
Congratulations on the birth of your child. Baptisms in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Magherafelt, take place each Sunday at 1.00pm. Please contact Anne at the parish office, 7963 3635, and she will be happy to take the details. Baptisms in St Patrick’s Church, Castledawson are by arrangement with one of the priests. Please contact Anne, as above, for a baptism card which you will need to fill in and take with you to the ceremony. Baptism candles are provided by the parish at all baptisms, so there is no need to purchase your own.
Do both the Godparents (sponsors) have to be Catholic?
The main role of a Godparent (sponsor) at baptism is to support the parents in bringing their child up in the Catholic faith. At least one sponsor, therefore, must be Catholic. A baptised person who belongs to another Christian denomination may act as a witness to the baptism. Sponsors must not be less than sixteen years of age and be of sufficient maturity to understand their role.
I want to arrange my wedding in the parish, how do I go about it?
Congratulations. Firstly you need to contact Anne at the parish office, 7963 3635, to check that the church is free on the date you want. Then contact the priest you would like to officiate at your wedding to check if he is free on that date. If he is free, the priest concerned will direct you to the civil and church requirements and the timescales involved. If the priest you wish to officiate at your wedding is a relative who is not a priest of the Archdiocese of Armagh, he may need to be registered as a temporary officiant. Again one of the priests will be happy to advise you in this regard. You are required to attend a pre-marriage course. We suggest you contact Accord (www.accordni.com) to book one as soon as possible. Three months notice is the minimum requirement for all weddings. More information can be found on the website www.gettingmarried.ie
I am originally from the parish and due to be married, what papers do I need?
If you no longer live in the parish but were baptised and confirmed here, you need to contact Anne at the parish office, 7963 3635, for a Baptism/Confirmation/Letter of Freedom Certificate (3-in-1) which the priest in your current parish will need. If you are still resident in this parish you will need to contact one of the priests so that he can fill in a pre-nuptial enquiry form for you.
I wish to get married abroad or in Rome, how do I go about it?
When you have decided where you wish to get married you must make contact with the priest and church of that area. (Some travel agencies say they can arrange this for you, but often it is only the civil part they arrange and not the Church wedding and are unaware of Church requirements). Once the date for your wedding has been arranged and the booking taken, the parish in which you are marrying will appraise you of civil requirements (a Nulla Osta from the Department of Foreign Affairs will be required). You should then contact one of the priests of this parish to have your Church papers completed. These will be sent to the Cardinal’s Office, Ara Coeli, Armagh and then forwarded to the bishop of the diocese in which you will be marrying, and eventually to the parish in which the wedding will take place, The archdiocese requires a £30 processing fee for this service.
My fiancé is not a Catholic, can we still be married in the Catholic Church?
If your fiancé is free to marry (has not been married before) there is absolutely no reason why you cannot be married in the Catholic Church. You will a need a dispensation from the Cardinal for Mixed Marriage. If you wish the marriage to take place in a church of another denomination then a further dispensation is required. Contact one of the priests who will be happy to meet with you and your fiancé to discuss details and answer any queries you may have
My elderly parent is ill and unable to go out to Mass, how do I arrange a priest to visit?
If you telephone any of the priests of the parish they will be happy to visit your parent and place them on their First Friday list so that they may receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) and Holy Communion once a month. Your relative may also like to listen to daily Mass via one of our parish radios. These are available in the repository at the front of the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption or via one of the priests.
A relative is in hospital in Belfast, I realise it is difficult for a priest of the parish to visit, but how do I arrange a visit from a priest?
All hospitals have chaplains attached to them who carry out regular visits to those who request them. If you ask any of the staff on the ward in which your relative is a patient thay will be happy to inform the chaplain.
What do I do if my elderly parent dies and she wants to be buried in Magherafelt?
The death of a loved one is always a very sad occasion. If your parent does not currently reside in this parish you will need to inform your own priest to discuss the Requiem Mass and the burial in Magherafelt parish. You can contact any of our priests for help with planning the Funeral Liturgy.