Outdoor Wedding Policy Garners News

With the headline “it’s official; outdoor Catholic weddings are a go in Butte” in the Montana Standard Newspaper, an outdoor Catholic wedding celebrated by Fr. Patrick Beretta sparked news articles, social media stirrings and blog posts across the country.

Bishop Thomas approved outdoor Catholic weddings in the Diocese of Helena in June of 2015 as a creative way to go to the margins and invite couples closer to the heart of the Church. The move is characteristic of Bishop Thomas’ pastoral acumen, acknowledging couples’ deep desire to celebrate their wedding in the beautiful outdoors of Montana while engaging them in parish-based marriage preparation and encouraging a deeper faith. The new approach is also partly practical, addressing the reality that many catholics in the U.S. opt for non-Catholic weddings and young couples typically don’t respond well to the restriction of a “church-building-only” policy.

In a story that appeared in National Catholic Register Bishop Thomas stated “My whole approach to this is that we are meeting people where they are, bringing the church to the margins. We think this is a wise move — to open a new door and see where the Spirit takes us.”

The new policy will be reviewed by the diocese in 2017.


it’s official; outdoor Catholic weddings are a go in Butte The Montana Standard

Helena diocese relaxes restrictions on non-church wedding locations The National Catholic Reporter

Can an Outdoor Catholic Wedding Be a Powerful Evangelization Tool? The National Catholic Reporter