Know the Order of the Mass atholic Wedding Basics

Published: 08th September 2008
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If you plan to have a Catholic wedding, then you will definitely be planning a church service to start things off. When it comes to the order of the Mass, a Catholic wedding is straightforward. However, you can personalize every aspect of the Mass and have many different people take part which will make your day even more special for you. You can still have a Catholic wedding without having a Mass and be married by a priest. The main difference is that a Mass contains two sacraments ?Eucharist (Holy Communion) and Marriage.

The bride walks in through the church on the arm of her father or both her parents or the person that is giving her away, preceded by the bridesmaids and flower girl. The groom and the ushers are waiting at the front of the church and the congregation stands when the Bridal Chorus begins to play. The bride and groom stay at the front of the church seated on two chairs for the duration of the ceremony. The bridesmaids and ushers usually have seats just behind them. The front rows on each side of the church may be reserved for this seating.

The order of the Mass when Eucharist is involved consists of:

- The Liturgy. This is two readings from Scripture and a response psalm. The bride and groom can choose three different people to take on this task, with each person doing a reading. They can also opt to have the psalm sung. When reading the psalm, the whole congregation joins in giving the response.

- Homily. The priest delivers a homily or sermon, which is generally about the sanctity of marriage and in which he mentions the names of the happy couple. If the priest is well acquainted with the family, he will likely give some details of that friendship and mention the names of both sets of parents.

- Eucharist. The bride and groom choose several people to bring the gifts of bread and wine to the altar. They can also choose to have specific altar boys serving at this time. The Eucharist is a solemn part of a Catholic wedding Mass in which both the bride and groom receive Holy Communion, followed by the attendants, the parents and then the congregation. If either the bride or groom is not Catholic, you should tell the priest this in advance so that he will not offer Communion to the non-Catholic spouse.

- Marriage vows. This is the part of the Mass where the couple exchange their marriage vows and rings. You can write your own vows, but you must have them approved by the priest.

- Lighting of the Marriage Candle. In this part of the ceremony, the couple lights a special candle from the large candle burning on the altar, which they keep.

If you prefer not to have Eucharist celebrated during the Catholic wedding, the same order of events takes place with the exception of Communion. After the Mass has ended, the priest will have the couple sign the marriage certificate and then announce them as Mr. and the congregation.

Most people getting married have a booklet that they pass out to the people attending the Marriage Mass so that they can read along with all the specific parts of the Mass. This booklet also names the members of the bridal party and gives the names of those performing the various activities involved in the Mass.

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