Is celebrated periodically, but not during Lent. For information on Parent Information Sessions, contact the rectory for required attendance. Adults who desire Baptism receive the Sacraments of Christians Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist) at the Easter Vigi, folllowing a period of paricipation in the Rite of Christain Iniation of Adults. For more info call 202 678-4999.

Baptismal Preparation for infants - 6 years
  • Baptism of infants is to take place within the first few weeks after birth. The faith of parents, who are Catholic, together with their intention to raise their child in that same Catholic faith, is a necessary prerequisite for celebrating this sacrament. The process begins with an interview with one of the priests.  A four evening catechesis program for parents and godparents regarding the responsibility they take upon themselves when they present their children for baptism is required.

Adults who have not been confirmed should contact their parish priest in order to receive instruction. Confirmation for adults is celebrated annually in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on the Feast of Pentecost.

    • Sacrament of Confirmation

In the Archdiocese of Washington, Confirmation is always celebrated within Mass to express more clearly the fundamental connection of this sacrament with the entirety of Christian initiation, which reaches its culmination in the Eucharist. Students are to be confirmed in the 7th or 8th grade. Requires parental and sponsor participation.

First Communion

Preparation through the Sundy School Classes

  • The Sacrament of Penance is to precede First Communion. Formal instruction for Penance is to be separate and distinct from preparation for the reception of First Communion. The value of this practice is to catechize the children, from age of reason, to the true Christian spirit of penance and conversion, to growth in self-knowledge and self-control, to a true sense of sin, even of venial sin, to the necessity of asking for pardon from God, and above all, to a loving and confident abandonment to the mercy of the Lord. In no circumstances should a child receive First Communion without first having received the Sacrament of Penance.  Requires parental participation.

Wedding Practices:  Many times couples and members of their wedding party like to be sacramentally prepared for the wedding celebration by using the Sacrament of Penance (confession) either before or after the rehearsal and should be arranged with the parish priest ahead of time.

Marriage and Annulments

Couples thinking about marriage should contact the parish priest prioe to engagement or at lleast six months prior to the anticipated wedding date. The church desires to help couples prepare a good foundation for a lifelong commitment to this sacred marriage vocation.

Married Couples Ministry

MCM meeting:
MCM Turn Out Schedule: On the third Sunday of the month as a public witness to the parish community

Meeting Content: The Married Couples Ministry promotes the sacrament of Matrimony and supports couples in the parish community in living and witnessing to living the sacramen. Couples in the ministry meet once per month to discuss or study some aspect of living the sacrament; periodically performs a ministry of service with spouses and family, participate in an annual Lenten Day of Reflection, an annual retreat and/or participation in a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend (sample video shown above).

MCM Promotes and Organizes:
Annual World Marriage Day: 2nd Sunday in February at OLPH
OLPH Participation in the Annual Anniversary Celebration at the ADW in June
Supports couples preparing for Marriage at OLPH.

All married couples in the parish are invited to ministry activities and our ministry has committed to reach out to other parishes in the deanery and the inner city.  As the ministry matures, it looks to minister and witness to youth and young adults about how to live the sacrament.

Marriage Preparation, Process and Guidelines

Handouts: Prenuptial Investigation, Inventory, Pre-Cana Program Brochures, Liturgical Planning Booklet

Contact Person: Deacon Timothy Tilghman 

OLPH Parish Guidelines for Marriage Preparation   Draft II  9-18-12
Congratulations on your decision to prepare for and celebrate the sacrament of Marriage at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. Welcome to our parish Marriage Preparation Program. Our goal is to help prepare the two of you for your lives together as husband and wife. This sacrament builds on the Vocation Call to Faith in Baptism and is one of the answers each of us gives to the Vocation call to lifestyle
(Single Life, Marriage, Priesthood and Religious Life). It empowers and guides us in the answer to the third Vocation Call of Jesus to carry out His Mission and Ministry. Marriage or Matrimony is special because the husband and wife are the ministers of the sacrament before a priest/ deacon and two witnesses serving as the Church’s witnesses. Our Church teaches us that the Wedding is for a Day that is the beginning of a Marriage Commitment that is for a life time. It is a sacrament that includes not just the two of you and God, but includes us the Church. Thankfully the Church provides for a step by step process that helps to lay a strong a foundation for that lifelong commitment as well as prepare for the wedding celebration. That is why there is a minimum six-month preparation time before the wedding date. At Our Lady of Perpetual Help that support and guidance is not only offered prior to your wedding, but also supported through our Parish Marriage Ministry, World Marriage Day, Marriage Encounter and Retreats for Married Couples. We are most grateful that you chose to prepare for your marriage here.

Our marriage preparation program process:
1. MEET WITH ANY PRIEST OR DEACON so they can explain the preparation program and begin part 2 and 3.

2. PRENUPTIAL QUESTIONNNAIRE. This questionnaire is to establish the freedom to marry in the Church and the couples awareness of and commitment to the purposes of marriage.

3. FOCCUS PREMARITAL INVENTORY INSTRUMENT.  This instrument is a tool to help you explore the essential elements of married life and to insure that as a couple you have discussed them and generally worked out how you will strive to live them.  Each of you will complete the inventory separately either hand written at the rectory  or  online (online  inventory is $15). After the inventory results are scored either the Deacon and His wife or one of the parish priests will discuss them with you as a couple .  The number of sessions depends on the FOCCUS results. To sign up and pay for the online inventory, go to
NOTE: We understand that wedding dates are driven not just by the desire of you the couple, but also by the availability of the reception space and the church. Many times that really requires planning a year in advance. Please note that the date for the wedding can't be set until after both the Prenuptial questionnaire and the FOCCUS Pre-nuptial Inventory is completed and reviewed by the priest or deacon. So it is wise to begin this conversation as early as possible prior to the anticipated wedding date.

4.  MARRIAGE PREPARATION CLASS. The focus of these classes is to appreciate what happens after you are married, empower you to set appropriate and realistic goals, and especially to insure you put pieces in place that will support your marriage. You may participate in an Engaged Encounter Weekend, or a program such as Three to Get Married (offered at Center for Family Development, Bethesda, MD 20718, which costs $275, or an Archdiocesan Pre-Cana Course of 16 hour presented on two consecutive Saturdays at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, 5003 Eastern Avenue, Hyattsville, MD.  Cost is $205 and includes lunch.  The couple must attend both sessions. For more information, call (301)853 5337 or email
The topics covered in the program include:
Biblical Basis of Marriage & Family Life  Communications          
Finances                                               Preparation for Celebration of the Sacrament
Prayer                                                   Human Sexuality                       Introduction to NFP
Vocation to Parenthood                          Family                                      Sacramentality of Marriage
Optional Encouraged Program: ADW NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING (NFP) COURSE.  NFP will be introduced in the 16-hour class and revisited in the couple to couple setting as we discuss the FOCCUS inventory.   Take this class to guide you in family planning. The Archdiocese asks for a $25 for this class.  For more information, call (301)853 5337 or email
5. PLANNING YOUR WEDDING - This celebration is an act of worship and thus we celebrate what we believe in Christ Jesus. The ritual options starting with the procession up the church aisle should reflect what you believe in connection with our Sacramental beliefs.   Marriage is a sacrament of unity, the vision of Christ and his Church Should we celebrate our Wedding at a Mass?  Ordinarily we celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage in the context of Mass. However, when the bride or groom is of different Christian denomination or religion, and since most non-Catholics do not share our beliefs about the Eucharist and thus cannot receive Holy Communion,  we recommend the Sacrament of Marriage be celebrated with the Liturgy of the Word.

We will provide you with a Wedding Liturgy Planning Book,  like "Together for Life" by Rev. Joseph Champlain, to provide the ordinary scripture readings for weddings, options for various prayers including your vows.  In addition, we include a parish guideline for the Celebration of your wedding.  Once the two of you have agreed on the final choices for the celebration, you will need to sit down with the priest or deacon witnessing your marriage. This is important not only for any printed program you might have, but also important for your wedding rehearsal, which is the beginning of wedding celebration.  Wedding Coordinators who wish to contribute to the planning of the Wedding Ceremony should be at the meeting with the couple and minister, so that what is agreed will be implemented during the rehearsal and the wedding celebration. Once the wedding party gets into church, the presiding minister is in charge of the rehearsal and celebration. 

May God Bless all our efforts to establish the Marriage on a firm faith filled foundation. May the tools and wisdom you receive in the process of preparation serve you well in the years to come. Thank you for witnessing to us the Love God has for all of us through your married love.
The Pastor and Parish Family of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The Wedding Liturgy is a public celebration and can be attended by anyone. We extend special invitations to guests because we especially want them to participate in the Wedding Ceremony and Wedding Reception which is private.  It is an act of sacred worship for the parish community.  People who come are expect to not only attend, but also participate. The Wedding Party are considered an extra special group of participants because have been near and dear to the couple getting married and pledge themselves to especially support you after your wedding and throughout your married life. Finally remember that God is at the center of all that is to unfold. May God be great in all of us in this sacred endeavor. To help you understand and to find resources relating to Marriage in the Catholic Church, we recommend you visit the internet website

Day and Time for Weddings: Weddings at OLPH are ordinarily celebrated on Saturdays from 10AM through 2:30 PM.  Saturday Evening Weddings can be celebrated from 6:30 to 8PM.  Times and decorations must be set around the normal Saturday Vigil Mass at 4:30 PM.  We ask you to be punctual, which means be early in arriving for the rehearsal and for the wedding celebration.    
Music Selections: So much of worship of God and celebration of our Sacraments is in our prayers of song. Most of the songs we listen to and which inspire us are about love.  There are secular songs that are indeed expressions of the sacred.  We encourage you to select any secular music for performance before the wedding and if necessary for the recessional song. During the Wedding, sacred music, especially songs and hymns that include the congregation is the norm. 

Please note that the "Ave Maria" should never be sung during or after Communion because the focus should be on Jesus rather than Mary. In addition, the "Lord's Prayer" can never be a solo during the Mass, because it is a prayer exclusive to the congregation.  

Music Ministers: The following competent musicians and singers from OLPH are available for weddings. Please contact them directly. Outside musician and singers outside the parish are acceptable, presuming their respect for the Roman Catholic Liturgical Celebrations.
Phone info from Bernice
George Stewart 240-404-4904
Dehrric Richburg 301-583-8356
Debra Tidwell-Peters 202-889-8944

Rehearsals: The Day and Time is set at the time the Marriage Date and Time are set. It is usually held the Thursday or Friday evening before the wedding. If planned properly should last no more than 45 minutes to an hour.  This is the beginning of the celebration of the sacrament. All participants in the celebration should be present so that no detail is missed in your “once in a lifetime experience” of the sacrament.   The Marriage License (You are required to get the license from the District of Columbia Court, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.  The priest or deacon witness’ name is required to be on the certificate prepared by the District.  The witnessing minister must sign this document immediately after the celebration of the sacrament.)  and Ring(s) should be brought to rehearsal and kept safely at the rectory until the Marriage is celebrated.  Please note that if you want the Priest/Deacon to attend your rehearsal dinner and/or wedding reception, you need to invite him as this is not an automatic expectation.
Church decorations:  It is your day at the church.  Your church home should be decorated appropriately to make your union as husband and wife special.  The ordinary liturgical colors for the sanctuary is white and during Advent or Lent it is purple.   Decorations should not block the view of the altar from the assembly. Thus arches if desired could be used at the front entrance to the church, but not in the sanctuary.  insuring the safety of the wedding party, runners are allowed.    
Wedding Practices:  Many times couples and members of their wedding party like to be sacramentally prepared for the wedding celebration by using the Sacrament of Penance (confession) either before or after the rehearsal and should be arranged with the parish priest ahead of time. The Unity Candle, at which the family candle is often lit by the Mothers of the Bride and Groom when they process to their seats before the Bridal Party processes into the Church, and the center candle which is lit by the newly wedded couple after the exchange of rings, is also permitted.  A floral bouquet placed at the feet of the Blessed Mother as a symbolic action asking the prayerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the newly married couple is quite appropriate often accompanied by the hymn "Ave Maria".  Use of a Jumping Broom and Lasso with their cultural symbols of unity are permitted as well.  
Photography:  Cameras should be placed so that they do not block the ministers, wedding party, or assembly or become a distraction. Photographers should be advised of these spaces and should confer with the witnessing minister about where to locate equipment and how to capture the event without disrupting the celebration of the sacrament.
Wedding Costs:  We are well aware that the National Average Cost of a Wedding is well beyond $20,000. In this day and age such amounts certainly cover the major cost of new automobile and is a fine down payment on home ownership.  Weddings should ordinarily  be a once in a lifetime event and thus it is very special in the life of a couple committing their lives to a marriage relationship until death do you part.  Please carefully consider the costs involved. Note that when the gifts of bread and wine are brought forth in a Wedding Mass, that a donation to the poor or a particular charity is a worthy gift. 

Panorama Room Hall Rental:  A brochure will be provided that includes the information you need to rent the Panorama Room with a capacity of 350.

Church Offerings: The preparations for marriage, required by the Church, and it impact obviously go way beyond the wedding celebration.  Each couple must prayerfully count the costs of their wedding and weigh the consequences of their decisions not only for the celebration, but for the marriage life yet to unfold.  For the Church there are obvious costs for services rendered or facilities provided and clean up afterward, not to mention the prayers, spiritual and practical advice given. Remember your donation to the church is not for services rendered, but a donation so that Mission and Ministry of Jesus Christ may go forth from this Church.  Please keep that in mind as you consider your donation to the Church.
On Time Wedding Deposit: Our Lady of Perpetual Help requires a deposit of $100 to be paid to the parish no later than one week prior to your wedding.  If your wedding celebration begins within 15 minutes of its scheduled start time your deposit will be refunded to you; if you are late the parish will keep the deposit.  This deposit is a small incentive to remind your wedding party to be punctual.
Stipends:  It is appropriate to provide a stipend to the minister and parish staff that assist in conducting your wedding celebration.  The priest/deacon who conducts the Mass or Liturgy of the Word, altar servers.  Please consult with the priest or deacon during final preparation about what is appropriate.






Please contact the priest before confirming any arrangemnetrs with your funeral home.

  • Planning a Catholic Funeral (Mass of Christian Burial)
  • These OLPH GUIDELINES have been established to assist you in this delicate preparation.

    It is important that you contact the church as soon as possible after the death of your loved one, before making final arrangements.

    Death of a loved one is the most profound event in the life of any family.  Whether death is sudden or followed by a prolonged illness, the church is here to help you prepare the Catholic Rite for a funeral and to pray with you during this difficult time.

    The bereaved grieve in their own ways, according to their own schedules.  We all have different ways of grieving rooted in our own life experiences and our relationship with the deceased.

    The Wake Biblical or Rosary Service can be held at the Funeral Home the night before. The Church Viewing could allow for the recitation of the Rosary and/or Organizational Rituals. This is a time to comfort and support the family and to remember to pray for our deceased loved one.

    Personal Reflections on the life of the deceased may be given at the time of the Wake Service and/or Church Viewing. 

    The Funeral Liturgy Planning should involve family members through the selection of Scripture Readings, Music, Placing of the pall, and presenting the gifts of bread and wine. Presentation of the gifts could include significant memorabilia of the deceased.

    The Funeral Liturgy is the first step toward burial, followed by the procession to the final resting place of the deceased and interment.  Thus, once the casket is closed, it ordinarily remains closed for the funeral and burial.


    For the minimum donation for use of the Church, please contact the priest before confirming any arrangements with your funeral home.

                Donation is based on the musician’s request and their preference is in cash.
    George Stewart, Director of Music 240-401-4904
    Dehrric Richburg 301-583-8356

    Donation is based on the soloist request and their preference is in cash.
    Debra Tidwell 202-889-8944
    Barbara Johnson 202-246-6050   Cell 202-269-1373
    Mary Johnson 301-423-4637   Work 202-663-0441
    Donna Stewart-Moore 301-805-5024    Cell 301-873-5297

    The Repast allows time for fellowship, consolation and strengthening of family bonds and ties of friendship and also another time to share stories of the deceased.  The Church Hall may be used depending on its availability.  Following Archdiocesan guidelines, the OLPH Lazarus Bereavement Ministry Committee, who has “Food Certified Licensed Supervisors and/or Managers” will purchase, prepare the food, and oversee the setup and cleanup of the Church Hall. 

    If the DECEASED is a Registered Parishioner (meaning a census form has been filed within the past five (5) years on file in the Rectory) and/or a Contributing Parishioner (meaning that they have and use church envelopes) a $350.00 donation from the Church for 100 people will be issued to the Bereavement Ministry Committee for the Repast.  If the family anticipates more than 100 people, they must pay the extra money at $3.50 per plate.  (The basic menu is: fried and/or baked chicken, string beans, macaroni & cheese or parsley potatoes; rolls, punch, iced tea and/or lemonade and/or coffee, plus all paper products and utensils.)  Other menus are negotiable, such as turkey and ham dinners.  We do not prepare desserts.  Please encourage your family and friends to bring the desserts. 

    If the deceased is not a registered member of OLPH, a licensed insured caterer can prepare the food.     If requested, Bereavement members are available to assist with serving and clean-up as a part of our Ministry.  Note: Parishioners can also use licensed insured caterers.

    For the minimal donation for use of the Church Hall, please contact the priest before confirming any arrangements with your funeral home.
    (Includes the tables with decorations, salt and pepper, ice)

    FINANCES should be paid, IN ADVANCE of the funeral day in CASH or a MONEY ORDER made payable to:
    Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. Finances may be given to the Pastor, Parochial Vicar, Pastoral Associates, or Bereavement Chair, and a receipt will be issued for the money received.

    The Funeral Director or Representative is given a card with the Church Hall phone number and calls when the family is departing the cemetery. Food is served PROMPTLY upon the return of the IMMEDIATE FAMILY.
    After the family has been served, Eating and Fellowship time is normally ONE hour.