VNO 11: On the Anniversaries of Marriage

As with the VNO for the anniversary of a priest, we have some options for wedding anniversaries. The Roman Missal gives a brief introduction in red before getting to the prayers:

On the main anniversaries of marriage, as for example, on the twenty-fifth, fiftieth, or sixtieth anniversary, whenever Masses for Various Needs are permitted, the Mass for Giving Thanks to God may be used with the prayers given below.

The Missal has three options: A, On any Anniversary; B, On the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary; C, On the Fiftieth Anniversary. Like many of the MR3 prayers, nothing consistently great or lyrical in the prayers. Maybe this exception given for post-Communion in option A:

Open wide in joy and love, O Lord,
the hearts of these your servants,
who have been refreshed
with food and drink from on high,
that their home may be a place of decency and peace
and welcome everyone with love.

This sums up much of the sacramental life: an ever-opening of hearts, the Eucharistic center of faith, and the hope that a home will also be a domus Dei to draw others into the divine embrace of a graceful love.

More instruction from the Missal:

The same prayers may also be used, if appropriate, at Mass on a weekday in Ordinary Time. In these celebrations, a special remembrance of the Sacrament of Marriage may appropriately be made, using the forms which are indicated in the Roman Ritual (Order of Celebrating Marriage, nos. 272-286).

That reference is likely the old rite. A nuptial blessing might be an appropriate addition. I haven’t had a chance to check the final edition of the new Rite of Marriage. Maybe a few other offerings there would work for a daily Mass in a parish.

Giving no particular antiphons, the Roman Antiphonal also recommends looking at the Mass for Giving Thanks to God (VNO 49). Here they are:

Entrance Antiphon Eph 5: 19-20
Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts,
always thanking God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the canticle cited in verses 3-10 (or through 14) of the first chapter of that letter would make for a good effort at the praise of God matched to this antiphon.

Communion Antiphon Ps 138: 1
I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.
Or: Ps 116: 12-13
How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?
The chalice of salvation I will raise, and I will call on the name of the Lord.

Communion songs based on Psalm 138 or Psalm 116 are fine choices. 116 is associated with Holy Thursday and ordinations, so there’s no big problem with linking marriage to the Paschal Mystery or its companion sacrament in vocation. Obviously, Psalm 128 would fit well for any of these. As would the sections I suggested here from Song of Songs.

It’s a good development that those preparing liturgy in observance of marriage anniversaries have significant leeway under Church auspices to celebrate, even with prayer and song. I suspect that parish observances mean the most to ordinary Catholics. Many dioceses offer anniversary Masses–and this is also quite laudable for the in-crowd that knows of them.

Other comments?

Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.

 

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to VNO 11: On the Anniversaries of Marriage

  1. Andrew Casad says:

    The second edition of the OCM has a beautiful “renewal of commitment” that gets away from the renewing (or re-doing) of the initial consent but still gives the married couple celebrating a significant anniversary an opportunity to speak, either publicly or to one another, of their marital commitment. The UK Office for Worship has posted it in full at https://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/Marriage/OCM-Anniversary.pdf although here in the US we should use the US approved translation in Appendix III. I think a parish could also celebrate this on one-year and seven-year anniversaries to great effect, perhaps within an annual Mass for Marriage at a Sunday Mass. What are your thoughts?

    • Todd says:

      Excellent resource, Andrew. I agree with you that earlier anniversaries may be particularly in need of such a renewal. Anniversaries certainly need not be lost, but I would also think that such renewals would be proper for the conclusion of a Marriage Encounter weekend or Retrouvaille experience. We celebrate renewals of baptism apart from those anniversaries, and it seems that occasions within the liturgical or pastoral calendar of a parish or diocese are good to consider.

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