Photography During Liturgy

“St. Anthony Parish is committed to planning and celebrating liturgies that build faith and encourage full and active participation. This includes weddings, funerals, school celebrations as well as weekend masses. Each Christian must keep in mind that to live and worship in community often demands sacrifice. All must be willing to share likes and dislikes with others whose ideas and experiences may be quite unlike their own.

Photographers moving about during the liturgy are not only a distraction, they are a sign of disengagement from the sacramental activity, a bystander or observer to the liturgy when all have been invited to participate.

photo-937262_640This simple statement or something similar in the program or announcement by the cantor or other minister before the liturgy begins will be helpful in the community’s catechesis:

“Today we have come together as baptized people to hear the Word, to symbolize God’s lasting and living covenant (and to break the bread and share the wine in the Holy Eucharist as Jesus did.) [The bracketed section is added only when there is a Mass.] To make this liturgy a life giving celebration, we need to give ourselves to one another by singing the songs, listening attentively to the stories, and doing the signs of the Kingdom as a people one in Christ. To enhance this possibility, please do not take any flash pictures during the celebration or move about this place of worship.”

Weddings: Professional photographers are often hired by wedding couples. Some photographers, because of their poor behavior, are not welcome in some churches. We do not have a list of preferred photographers, but we will be compiling a list of photographers who are uncooperative or insensitive to the liturgical celebrations in our parish.

If you decide to use a family friend or relative, be sure that you can trust this person to give you good results and to show respect for the dignity of the occasion. A poorly chosen photographer can disrupt an otherwise reverent and beautiful celebration. Make sure they are aware of the limitation regarding flash pictures and moving about the sacred space.

You must demand that your photographer respect the integrity and sanctity of the church and its furnishings. Ask the wedding coordinator where the photographer can move in the church and respect the wishes of the parish.

The photographer should:

  • remain in the back of the main body of the church or the loft during the ceremony.
  • be suitably dressed.

The photographer should not:

  • step into the aisles
  • go into the sanctuary
  • smoke or eat during the assignment
  • stand on the pews or chairs.

The pre-nuptial photo session may be scheduled by arrangement with the wedding coordinator. The wedding party has the use of our facility for three hours – including the ceremony. You may take pictures before or after the ceremony. At this time group photos and staged photos of parts of the rite such as the ring ceremony may be taken.

The above statements concerning weddings also reflect guidelines to be followed for all other sacramental celebrations including Baptisms, Confirmations, Celebrations of First Eucharist, Ordination, Masses of Thanksgiving, Anniversary Masses, Funerals, etc.

Priests, Bishops, Deacons, Catechists and other ministers should be available following any liturgy for pictures with family or friends of those celebrating the sacraments.

During the liturgy itself there should be no flash photography by anyone. This includes the members of the assembly who may have cameras.

Likewise, video-taping of the liturgical celebrations must be done in a sensitive manner so as not to ruin the reverent atmosphere of the occasion. The camera MUST be stationary in the loft, and during the liturgy only available light may be used. This principle also applies to still photography (by professional photographers) from the back of the church and/or loft.