a Catholic wedding doesn't have to mean having a Catholic Mass. You can
celebrate a Catholic marriage in your parish church with a service that
does not include a full Mass. Sometimes that is a better option. A wedding
without Mass includes the procession, the opening prayer, the Scripture
readings, the homily, the couple's exchange of consent, the rings, and
the blessings. It does not include the preparation of the bread and wine,
the eucharistic prayer, and the communion rite.
the bride and groom come from two different faiths, or when many of those
attending the wedding will be unfamiliar with the Roman Catholic Mass,
the service without Mass may make a better fit. Marriage celebrates unity.
If the celebration includes Eucharist, a partner who belongs to another
faith will not share the great symbol of unity at the climax of Mass, communion.
Neither will non-Catholic guests who came to join in the prayer. In fact,
all through the service many will wonder when to sit or stand, what responses
to make, or how to sing the acclamations. That much discomfort often silences
the Catholics who are present, inhibiting their capable, full, and conscious
participation in the Eucharist. A wedding without Mass spotlights the wedding
itself and lets the whole assembly participate more equally. People can
hear the Scriptures, witness the consent, and join in the prayers and blessings
together even if they come from different denominations. The service still
takes a while — Catholic weddings are notoriously longer than most others
— so all will feel like they've worshipped, not just watched.
a marriage without a full Mass may also help your parish priest. If the
wedding does not include Mass, either a priest or a deacon may preside
for it. Although your priest wants to help families with funerals and weddings
as they occur, they can add more stress for him and the parish when they
fall on an already full weekend. Many priests find the wedding without
Mass enables them to reserve the energy they need for the regular Masses
bulletin insert resources, try Index of Bulletin
you are interested in weddings, take a look at Paul Turner's book:
The Catholic Wedding Answer Book.
What do YOU Think?
Send an e-mail
to ML Editor or post an entry
on the ML Current Issue Discussion Board.
(All submissions become the property of RPI and may be edited for length.)
© 2000, Resource Publications, Inc. 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San
Jose, CA 95112, (408) 286-8505. This article may not be reproduced in any
form without permission from the publisher. For permission e-mail
Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, MO, holds a doctorate
in sacramental theology from Sant' Anselmo University in Rome.