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Thank you for considering to celebrate your wedding at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, Penrose Park. Preparing for a wedding is a very busy time, but quality consideration should be given to the most important aspect, which is the ceremony itself.

The following are frequently asked questions in relation to having a wedding in the Shrine:


Marriage is one of the seven Sacraments and is taught in the Church as one of the vocational sacraments alongside that of Holy Orders. The Sacrament of Marriage is the only sacrament that the couple (Man & Woman) give to each other, and that union is sealed with the blessing of the Church given by the Principal witness, which is the ordained minister (Deacon, Priest or Bishop). Actively living out one’s faith and sharing it with your fiancé is the best way to truly experience and prepare for the sacrament of Matrimony. This is done predominantly by having a prayer life, going to Sunday Mass and receiving Holy Communion and going to the sacrament of confession regularly. For those who are non-catholic it is a great opportunity to share in the Catholic life and faith.


Marriage is a Sacrament, a serious lifelong commitment. As part of the preparation for marriage, it is necessary that the bridal couple receive instruction for married life. This is done by attending an approved marriage preparation course by the Catholic Church. It is a requirement that participating in this course happens because it is important for you to spend time reflecting on your future life together. No matter how well you know each other, being married is very different from being single. As we are aware, marriages do break down, so it is paramount for you to explore ways of communicating with each other and how to handle finances, stress and conflict, which are a part of everyday life. The Catholic Church recommends that all couples attend an approved Catholic marriage preparation course. Links detailing courses run by Catholic Adult Education, CatholicCare, Embrace and Engaged Encounters are found on our website.


To make an initial enquiry, please fill out the form by clicking on the link. Once an enquiry has been received, an email confirmation will be made informing the applicant of the availability of the date and time. Within a 30-day period of the tentative booking being confirmed, the official booking form, Memorandum of Understanding and full payment are required to be paid to secure the booking. Once all requirements are received, a confirmation email will be sent along with the receipt for payment:

Please Note: If any of the requirements are not met within the 30 day period then the tentative booking is cancelled. Please do not assume that a confirmed enquiry constitutes a secure booking.


The payment for your wedding at the Shrine will be a total of $2500.00 and is broken down as follows:

  1. $1500.00 – Shrine Church fee: This covers exclusive use of the Church for a 4 hour period (1.5 hour setup, 1 hour ceremony, 1.5 hour photos, greetings and cleanup). The fee also covers the usual bills as well as the cleaner before and after the ceremony.
  2. $500.00 – Refundable bond: The bond will be returned by request of the couple, along with the bank details of where the funds are to be deposited. This can happen after the cooling period of 7 days after the wedding ceremony has taken place. Communication will be made by the Shrine after which it is on the couple to follow up. The Bond can be forfeited for the following reasons:

    i. For any violation against the points in the “Memorandum of Understanding”

    ii. For extreme lateness – ceremony commencing 30 mins past booked time.

    iii. Shrine property damage or vandalism

    iv. Consumption of alcohol on the Shrine property.

    v. Failure to claim the Bond after a 3 month period post ceremony.
  3. $500.00 – Celebrants fee – The celebrant of the wedding will be paid the stipend after the ceremony has taken place. If the couple wish to give the celebrant his stipend personally this can be done but has to be stated at the outset of the booking process.

Please Note: For those couples wishing to look at other areas of the Shrine other than the Main Church for the celebration of the marriage (Old Monastery, Benefactors Altar and Grotto), the flat fee of each is $500.00 plus the Bond and Celebrants fee.


After the wedding, there will be a cooling period of 7 days after which the couple will be informed that the bond is available for refund or will be collected due to valid reasons provided by the Shrine or violation of the memorandum of understanding. After being informed, please confirm back in writing with the bank details of where the bond is to be refunded.


If you decide to cancel your booking before payment and within the 30 period, please notify the Shrine, the Celebrant of the wedding and the musicians in writing as soon as possible. If payment has been made or a cancellation is made within 2 months of the wedding, then a $100 administration fee will be charged.


Booking the date and time of a wedding is subject primarily to the availability of the Shrine. Shrine events, ceremonies and group bookings take priority and weddings can be booked around these engagements. The following is a guide to help couples in planning a day and time for the wedding which will not interfere with the Shrine Schedule:

  • Monday – Thursday: after 12:30pm
  • Friday – Saturday: after 1pm
  • First Saturday of each month: after 2pm
  • Sundays: after 3pm

Bookings will not be allowed on the following:

  • 13th of each month, due to Fatima day
  • Christmas Day & Christmas Octave
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Holy Week (Especially Good Friday & Holy Saturday)
  • Easter Sunday and Easter Octave
  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (15th August)
  • All Saints Day (1st November)
  • All Souls Day (2nd November)
  • Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (8th December)


The Shrine of Penrose Park offers not only the main Shrine Church but a few other locations within its boundaries where couples may wish to celebrate their wedding.

  • The Main Shrine Church seats approximately 800 people
  • The Old Monastery seats approximately 50 people
  • The Benefactors outside Altar seats approximately 100 people
  • The Grotto outside Altar seats approximately 200 people.


The Priests of Penrose Park are all happy to be celebrants at a couple’s wedding though couples are also welcome to bring along their own Priest. The celebrant (who is not of the Pauline Order) must seek clearance from the Diocese of Wollongong in order to publicly minister within the Diocese unless he is a Priest of the Diocese of Wollongong.
For a couple wishing to bring their own Priest to the Shrine, the necessary information must be included when filling out the official booking form.


Weddings conducted in the Church cover both Church and Civil law requirements. It is necessary to meet with the Celebrant of the wedding at least 3 months Prior to the wedding to fill in and have the necessary paperwork ready along with any dispensations.


As the paperwork is also for the government, it is a requirement for two forms of identification to be presented and registered. All documents must be current.

A recently issued certificate is required in the case of all Catholic baptised persons. This can be obtained by contacting the church where the baptism took place. It is normal procedure to ask for a recently issued baptismal certificate for marriage purposes.

Please organise a meeting with your Priest to fill in the PRE-NUPTIAL INQUIRY AND NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE papers at least six months before the wedding. Birth, Baptism and any other certificates need to be presented at this time.

It is your responsibility with the assistance of the Registered Minister of Marriage (Priest) to complete all required paperwork within the specified time or you may jeopardize the ceremony taking place.



If either party has been through any form of marriage before, no matter where or when, it is very important to discuss this with your Priest before making a firm booking. In these cases the death certificate of the previous spouse, a certificate of annulment of the previous marriage and divorce papers have to be supplied.


At least one party has to be Catholic for the church to be used for a wedding. When one partner is not a Catholic, the Catholic party will be asked to sign and answer the question, “Do you sincerely promise to do all in your power to share your faith with your children by having them baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church?” A dispensation must be obtained from the Bishop of the Diocese of the Catholic party.


The texts of the marriage rite are available from the links below or from the Shrine Office. The couple is invited to choose their scripture readings, and other options, to personalise their wedding celebration.

In relation to the Readings at the wedding, either with or without Mass, the minimum requirement is a reading from the Old or New Testament, a Responsorial Psalm, Gospel Acclamation and the Gospel (The Gospel is always read by the Priest).


If a nuptial mass is to be celebrated, the Priest decides whether the bridal couple should receive both the Body and the Blood of Christ. On the occasion of a marriage of mixed religion or non-practising Catholics, a service is usually preferred. The decision, however, is to be made in consultation with the Priest celebrant.


The couples need to organise readers for the Scripture readings. The readers need to be able to proclaim the reading clearly and intelligibly. The couple can discuss with the celebrant as to how many readers they wish to have and how many are required for the ceremony. (One reader is the minimum required but two or three are generally good practice).


Music is a servant in worship. It is never to be done for its own sake within a celebration of Christian worship. The music chosen for your wedding should be chosen to suit the different parts of the whole celebration. The text/lyrics of sung pieces should always respect the Church, which is a place of worship. “Performance” type music must be avoided. Music should be chosen from Classical or Church music. Good taste and dignity will determine what is sung, by whom, when and how. These should be discussed with the celebrant.

These guidelines are based upon an understanding of the reality being celebrated. Popular music, live Broadway musicals, pop, movies and contemporary music are not allowed during the celebration. As a matter of adhering to our guidelines, please send your choice of music to the Shrine office before finalising any musician. It is the couple’s responsibility to organise the musicians. Costs and payment arrangements are to be discussed directly with the musicians chosen. There is a list of music, from which couples are to choose. Couples are therefore obliged that their selection be taken from this list. Unauthorised music selection(s) may result in a breach of contract with the Parish. If the couple wish to have a piece of music included in the ceremony that is not on the list, then they are to provide a valid reason to the celebrant to seek his approval for the piece to be played. The couple are to submit their choices on the official music approval form. Once approved, if there are any changes, then the process has to be done all over again, submitting a new form with the desired pieces. Your music needs to be verified prior to your wedding. Please use this form to submit your request.

MUSIC COPYRIGHT APPROVAL: Any music used before, during or after the wedding must be either covered under the Shrine Copyright Licence (refer to our list) or the couple must obtain their own copyright and produce the same in writing before submitting music for approval.

The following acknowledgments must be included in the booklet as is required for the Readings and Prayers for the ceremony. Excerpts from the English translation of the Rite of Marriage © 1969, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). All rights reserved.Excerpts from the Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)” and “Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, ICEL”.


Photographs may be taken before the celebration. Professional photographers are permitted to take pictures during the celebration, provided they do not become a distraction. This helps to preserve the true reverence for the celebration. Videos are permitted. Please request the photographer or videographer to introduce themselves to the Celebrant prior to the celebration. Every Celebrant has different boundaries regarding photography, so it is important to discuss this point with him so as to avoid embarrassment or disappointment.


The ONLY decorations permitted in the Shrine church are FLOWERS and PEW DECORATIONS. Other ideas must be discussed with the Celebrant or the Rector of the Shrine.

Please speak to your Priest celebrant regarding any flower allergies.

Pew decorations are understood as being a length of ribbon secured to the pew end with a flower of tasteful ornament in the middle. Please consider the solemnity of the Lenten period by using minimal flowers in the sanctuary.

PLEASE NOTE: No thumbtacks, nails, or strong adhesives are to be used to fix decorations within the Church, as these cause damage. Confetti and candles are also not to be used in either decorations or inside the Church. Bubbles are acceptable. Rice or flower petals are permitted to be thrown, but must be OUTSIDE the Shrine Church and on a grassy or earthy area, not the paved section. The church and the grounds are cleaned in preparation for weekend services and weddings; therefore respect for the premises is greatly appreciated.


Wedding cars/vehicles are permitted to park immediately outside the Church and remain there for the duration of the ceremony. There is ample car and bus parking onsite for guests. Under no circumstances are vehicles to obstruct the entry and exit to the church or grounds. Burnouts, donuts or other manoeuvres are strictly prohibited and will be in complete violation of the Memorandum of understanding and terms and conditions of the use of the Shrine, plus, this is dangerous to those around.