Wedding Antiphons

A friend alerted me to this work posted a few days ago on the CCW blog, Three Entrance Antiphons for the Celebration of Marriage. Richard Clark is a fine composer. I commend this work linked on the blog post. Some of Mr Clark’s commentary:

Designed to work for a Liturgical Procession OR sung as a Gathering Song after the more typical procession

This is an excellent approach. As an aside, I find couples more open to the use of an entrance song than some clergy. The published scores include music for assembly singing.

Another laudable sensitivity:

Given the potential for varied instrumentation at weddings, guitar chords are provided. Although composed for organ and trumpet, these can be adapted for piano and other instruments.

Psalm 128 is used for the text of verses of all three of these antiphons. That Scripture is often chosen for the Liturgy of the Word. If so, other texts might be well-matched to one or other of the given antiphons. Song of Songs 2:10b-13:

Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
and come!

For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.

Arise, my friend, my beautiful one,
and come!

Or Song of Songs 8:6-7:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
For Love is strong as Death,
longing is fierce as Sheol.
Its arrows are arrows of fire,
flames of the divine.

Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor rivers sweep it away.
Were one to offer all the wealth of his house for love,
he would be utterly despised.

Or from the New Testament:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

I agree with the composer’s assessment of liturgical music for weddings:

These texts are beautiful, inspiring, and should be sung in their own right. Singing the Entrance Antiphon at a wedding is not simply a liturgically conservative gesture. It is a progressive act—an invocation inviting God to permeate the center of their love. As the couple confers the sacrament upon each other, these texts are a beautiful way to being the Mass. They are a beautiful way to begin life together.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgical Music, Rite of Marriage. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Wedding Antiphons

  1. Liam says:


    Richard Clark’s work is very fine, musically, pastorally and ritually.

    As for Song of Songs 2, I have very soft spot in my heart for one of the pieces of American sacred music of longest tenure in the repertoire, from 1782 – though obviously as a *congregational* hymn as it was designed, a certain rough-and-ready delivery is more “authentic”:

    I sense the whiff of the wharves of old Boston in that, btw. William Billings, being a Boston tanner by trade, seems at times to have baptised the sea shanty.

  2. Andrew Casad says:

    Thank you for posting this timely reflection Todd. My former colleague, Roger Petrich, has also written settings of the Antiphons for the Nuptial Masses from the third edition Roman Missal.

  3. Pingback: VNO 11: On the Anniversaries of Marriage | Catholic Sensibility

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