If you remember from a previous post, Mr. Dumpling is Catholic, and I am in the process of converting. One of the first things I asked our marriage coordinator at the church was about the difference between a Catholic wedding ceremony and, say, a Baptist or Methodist wedding ceremony. Being from the South, those were the sorts of weddings I attended. You know the ones—20 minutes max, I do, me too, kiss the bride. I now present…
Anyway, we decided that we wanted full Mass at our wedding. I was so shocked to find out that full Mass was an HOUR LONG. (*must not lock knees and pass out*)
I’ve only attended one wedding at a Catholic church before, and honestly, I did not pay attention. I did some searching around on the Internet and on our Catholic Weddingbee boards and found out a few things. If you’re Catholic and think I’ve missed something, please speak up. I’m new and excited and I would love some input!
The Order of Mass The Mass is divided into five parts: gathering and entrance rite, Liturgy of the Word, marriage rite, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and concluding rite. The service should last a bit over an hour.
The gathering and entrance rite is a procession of the celebrant priest and deacon, the attendants, and the bride and groom to the altar. The priest greets the community and blesses them. There may be a penitential rite, which consists of a communal prayer for mercy and forgiveness, followed by a prayer or song called the Gloria.
The Liturgy of the Word consists of three readings from the Bible, chosen by the couple, all of which will probably have something to do with marriage. Friends and family members will be chosen to read the Scripture. First will be a reading from the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament; then a psalm, either read from the Book of Psalms, or a song based on one; then a reading from the New Testament. There will also be a reading from one of the four Gospels, preceded by a special Alleluia prayer or song called the Gospel Acclamation. (Christians who are able to do so should remain standing during the reading from the Gospel.) After the Gospel, the officiant will give a short homily reflecting on the marriage that is about to take place.
The marriage rite follows. The familiar exchange of vows and of rings will take place first, sealing the marriage. (This may seem anticlimactic to those who are used to seeing this part happen at the very end.) After the rings are exchanged, the Mass continues. Prayers for the newlyweds, for the community, and for various groups of people will be offered up.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist is when Communion is offered to the congregation. Bread and wine will be blessed and prepared to become the Eucharistic meal. We will pray the Lord’s Prayer together, then spend a few moments to offer one another a sign of peace in the form of a handshake or hug. Then the bread and wine will be distributed.
The concluding rite consists of a blessing of the community and of the newlyweds, a dismissal, and a recessional song. Guests should wait until the wedding party and priest has left before leaving their seats to exit the church.
Since a good number of our guests are not Catholic, we will also be printing a shortened version of this in the programs. That way, everyone knows when to sit, stand, kneel, stand, sing, shake hands, etc.
OK Catholic brides, I need your help. Is there anything I have left out? Any words of advice?