Matrimony Regulations

Our parish was just in receipt of our archdiocese’s liturgical calendar for 2022-23, including regulations on celebrating the Rite of Matrimony. Some commentary after each of their notes …

Matrimony within Mass on Saturday should be celebrated prior to the evening Masses in anticipation of Sunday. 

Looks like a Saturday bias on the surface, but I’ve experienced a wedding liturgy on every day of the week in my forty-plus years of playing liturgical music. I do wonder if a parish doesn’t have a Saturday evening Mass, what the regulation might be. Is it governed by some reasonable hour for Vespers I? Most couples and their families I’m sure, would want to keep Saturday evening free for social festivity.

In Masses that are not parish Masses, matrimony within Mass may be used on Sundays of the Christmas season and Ordinary Time.

Did you know that you can get married on these Sundays? You can get married on any Sunday, of course. But if the Mass isn’t a community liturgy, even Holy Family Sunday is a possibility for bumping the regular readings and prayers.

If matrimony must occur during Mass Sunday or a Solemnity, the prayers and readings for the day’s Mass are used, inserting the consent, exchange of vows, nuptial blessing, and final solemn blessing in the appropriate places.

This is how my wife and I did it.

When a matrimony Mass is not allowed, it is permissible to replace one of the readings prescribed for that day’s Mass with one indicated by an asterisk (*).

That reading is usually, but not always the second.

In the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, no. 144 ff., except on Holy Thursday, Easter, Christmas, Epiphany, Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, Assumption, Immaculate Conception, and other holy days of obligation, when all the readings of the day must be used.

Prayers of the Mass, too. But consent, vows, nuptial blessing, and final solemn blessing are all inserted.

November 2nd is a curious case. One young associate I worked with was scandalized it had been scheduled. The pastor knew it was an extraordinary circumstance, and permitted it. Does the prescription for “penitential character” apply? Get married, yes, but keep it cool?

However, the rite of matrimony without Mass may be celebrated on the above days, except during the Easter triduum. The celebration of matrimony on Good Friday and Holy Saturday is to be avoided altogether (Order of Celebrating
Matrimony, no. 32).

Avoided, naturally. But there is no outright forbidding. No Mass can be celebrated on either day, obviously.

If a matrimony (within or without Mass) is celebrated on a day having a penitential character, especially during Lent, the pastor must counsel the spouses to respect the nature of that day.

The new Roman Missal elevates the votive Mass for Matrimony to the level of a solemnity (singing the Gloria, for example). Does that mean the observance looks like one of the solemnities of Lent, the feasts for Saint Joseph and the Annunciation, for example? Or are we just talking about the loudness of the music? Or decor?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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