OCM 33-34: The Marriage Rite To Be Used

A quick reminder before we get into the meat of this post. Our introduction will take us through paragraph 44 in the Rite. The Wedding Mass is covered in chapter I, sections 45 through 78. The Rite with a Liturgy of the Word only can be found in OCM 79-117, designated as chapter II. Subsequent chapters provide additional resources.

These two paragraphs below begin to outline the ritual tools to be used when celebrating a wedding. The Church instructs people on The Rite to Be Used starting here:

33. In the celebration of Marriage within Mass, the rite described in Chapter I is used. In the celebration of Marriage without Mass, the rite should take place after a Liturgy of the Word according to the norm of Chapter II.

People think of two options: wedding Mass or wedding outside of Mass. The third option is to include the Rite of Marriage within the Mass of the Day. When might that happen?

34. Whenever Marriage is celebrated within Mass, the Ritual Mass ‘The Celebration of Marriage’ is used with sacred vestments of the color white or of a festive color. On those days listed in nos. 1‑4 of the Table of Liturgical Days, however, the Mass of the day is used with its own readings, with inclusion of the Nuptial Blessing and, if appropriate, the proper formula for the final blessing. If, however, during Christmas and Ordinary Time, the parish community participates in a Sunday Mass during which Marriage is celebrated, the Mass of the Sunday is used.

Those days numbered one through four are as follows:

  1. Paschal Triduum
  2. Sundays and major feasts in the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter
  3. Solemnities of the Lord, Mary, or saints.
  4. Observances of patrons appropriate to the nation or city, parish, or the parish’s dedication anniversary. Also, the founder of a religious order connected tot he community.

It is a myth that couples cannot be married on these days. Actually, they can. But not in context of a wedding Mass. One concession is permitted:

Nevertheless, since a Liturgy of the Word adapted for the celebration of Marriage has a great impact in the handing on of catechesis about the Sacrament itself and about the duties of the spouses, when the Mass ‘For the Celebration of Marriage’ is not said, one of the readings may be taken from the texts provided for the celebration of Marriage (nos. 179‑222).

Usually this would be the second reading. But the rite leaves the choice open.

Notice that on most ordinary time Sundays, a wedding Mass is permitted. Unless the local bishop legislates otherwise.

Your comments?

The text cited in blue is from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to OCM 33-34: The Marriage Rite To Be Used

  1. Liam says:

    While couples may be married during the Paschal Triduum, good luck finding a parish or oratory that is prepared to celebrate it liturgically on those days! (Ditto for Christmas Eve/Day….) Most couples are not interested in weekday weddings, and prefer Saturdays for logistical reasons.

    That said, one notes that one former commonplace of Catholic weddings is not that anymore: the morning wedding. If you wanted a Nuptial Mass, it had to be in the morning or noontime; Masses could not be offered after that. And the Eucharistic fast (which was much stricter – not even water) ran from midnight. Observant Catholics who intended to have the wedding party and immediate family join in Holy Communion at the Mass were doing all that last-minute preparation without food or liquid! To some extent, to stay distracted from hunger or thirst pangs, one engaged in even more tasks – as my mother described periodically (her wedding party was sent out to gather into boxes freshly fallen leaves with which to strew the chancel – it was a late October in Connecticut after World War II, and the pastor permissive). The wedding breakfast that followed – which was a proper full meal – was for the wedding party, immediate family and guests who had traveled from out of town (as a gesture of hospitality to the last; my mother said that locally based guests would go back home or out for their meal before returning for the reception) – and it was followed by the reception (for all guests) that featured light food, punch and cake and dancing.

  2. Pingback: OCM 54: Ritual Mass Or Mass of the Day? | Catholic Sensibility

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