The Catholic Rite of Marriage takes place within the Sacred Liturgy - the Church's praise of God. By its nature, Sacred Liturgy is a celebration of the universal church. The wedding liturgy reflects this aspect when a groom and bride profess their solemn vows to each other before God and His people assembled. To manifest our corporate worship and as we do at Sunday Mass, each wedding begins with a liturgical procession with the cross of Christ leading the lectors, priest/deacon, and then the wedding party (2 options available). A gathering hymn then unites our minds, hearts, and voices as we begin our worship, praising God and asking his blessings upons the Church and the couple marrying.
The Rite of Marriage may be celebrated during Mass or outside of Mass (Liturgy of the Word with no Holy Communion).*
- Rite of Marriage during Mass is the norm when both the bride and the groom are practicing Catholics.
- Rite of Marriage outside of Mass (Liturgy of the Word with no Holy Communion) is the norm when a Catholic marries a baptized non-Catholic.*
- Rite of Marriage outside of Mass (Liturgy of the Word with no Holy Communion) must be used when a Catholic marries a non-baptized person.*
* The norm is that an ordained deacon officiates at a Rite of Marriage outside of Mass (Liturgy of the Word with no Holy Communion).
* Since a non-Catholic bride/groom and guests do not receive Holy Communion, we celebrate what unites, and not what separates .
To prepare for the Sacred Liturgy, you will be given a book that outlines all your choices for the prayers and scripture readings. Your selection of lectors are to be comfortable with reading in public. Practicing Catholics and/or practicing baptized, non-Catholics may read the first and second readings or a person of the Jewish faith may read the Old Testament reading.
With the Rite of Marriage during Mass, you are to choose two (2) practicing Catholics to present the gifts of bread and wine. Since we as Catholics believe these gifts will become the Body and Blood of Christ, it would be inappropriate to ask a non-Catholic to present these gifts when his/her faith tradition does not believe in the real presence of the Eucharist as we do.