CEREMONIES & WEDDING VOWS:
A CATHOLIC WEDDING CEREMONY
AT ST. CATHERINE CHURCH
You make your engagement announcement, and the next perhaps most difficult decision the Bride and Groom along with both families has to make is what type of wedding ceremony to have? I’m here to offer you some guidance to get you started as you make one of the most important decisions of your lives. Here’s a typical Catholic wedding ceremony outline that should help guide you as you begin the process.
A Catholic wedding ceremony might be a simple ceremony that includes traditional Catholic elements and Scriptural readings, but the Catholic ceremony that is most frequently performed is a Nuptial Mass service. The service incorporates the wedding elements into the regular church service that our Catholic Community commonly observes at each Mass.
The Catholic Nuptial Mass is divided into four parts:
Honorary Guests Entrance: The grandparents and parents of the groom and mother of the bride are seated before the groom enters.
The Gathering Entrance Rite: This begins with the entrance of the celebrant (priest) from the room behind the altar, which is mostly referred to as the Sacristy. (Usually the groom enters through a side entrance to await the bride near the approach to the altar.) The couple can choose to have their attendants enter as couples or as singles. If they enter as singles, the best man and groomsmen follow the groom (when he enters) before the bridesmaids processional. The priest greets the community and invoke’s God’s blessings upon the couple, those gathered and the ceremony followed by the opening prayer.
The Liturgy of the Word: This is a series of readings from the Bible. Each couple is given a book at their Engagement Retreat entitled Together For Life written by Joseph M. Champlin that consists of these readings. The first reading is from the Old Testament; the second reading is from the New Testament preceded by the Responsorial Psalm which is sung or can be read if no vocalists are present at the ceremony. Typically, couples select readings that comment on the nature of love, marriage, commitment and family. The readings are most commonly done by family members who have been selected by the couples for the honor. After the singing of the Gospel Acclamation or the Alleluia prayer, there is a reading of the Holy Gospel read by the priest. This part of the service concludes with the priest giving a short homily or speech on marriage and the union of the bride and groom.
The Marriage Rite: This is typically the longest portion of the ceremony. It begins with the exchanging of vows and exchange and blessing of the rings. The Mass continues with prayers for the newlyweds, for their family, the community and others who may be mentioned by name. This is commonly referred to as the Prayers of the Faithful that the couple chooses from the Together For Life book to also have read by a family member. If the couple chooses to have a full wedding Mass, then the prayers are followed by the Eucharist or Communion service. The couple chooses one of their parents to bring up the bread and wine, which is the host, then it is consecrated (blessed) and the congregation joins together in praying the Lord’s Prayer. Those gathered then turn to one another to exchange a sign of peace with a handshake or a hug. The host is distributed and communion is received.
The Concluding Rite: The final segment of the service includes the Nuptial Blessing over the new couple, the Procession for the Virgin Mary, which is an offering of flowers and short prayer to Mary by the couple, and final blessing of the community and the new couple, and a final recessional from the church. Guests exit once the couple, the wedding party, grandparents and parents, and the priest have recessed. The priest walks back to the room behind the altar to await the return of the bride and groom and their attendants for marriage license signatures and formal photos in the church.
There are certain rituals that are commonly portrayed in the ethnic wedding ceremony. The Mexican, Filipino and Italian community faithfully have the rituals of the coins (arraz) cord (lazo) and the veil. The veil is only included in a Filipino wedding. The rosary and the Holy Bible are integrated as well. The Unity candle is more commonly used in the traditional and modern wedding ceremony, however it is not considered part of a Catholic Wedding Mass. Many families like to reflect on the loss of a loved(s) by lighting a remembrance candle. St. Catherine church musicians and vocalists are available to you for your wedding, and will guide you to make appropriate musical decisions for the Liturgy of the Word and/or for your Wedding Mass.
If you have a son or daughter who is getting married, or if you, a friend or a relative is getting married, and would like to have a Catholic wedding ceremony, then consider St. Catherine church. Recently, the church has undergone some indoor enhancements which include a new coat of paint, and brand new carpets throughout. It’s a beautiful place of worship to gather for your very special occasion.
So by now, you’ve chosen a date, right? Now the next task on your To Do List, is to contact St. Catherine church to schedule your wedding ceremony. You’ll then be directed to meet with our Pastor, Father Mark Arnzen in which you’ll then start your Engagement Encounter Sessions. Once your sessions are finished, your next step is to contact me, Desiree Michel your church wedding coordinator for an initial consultation.
Father Mark and I look forward to helping you have a smooth and relaxing wedding day, one that will bring you special memories that will last a lifetime!
Wedding ceremonies are celebrated on Saturdays 10:00am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm. Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons are available upon request.
Maria Dominquez at the church office Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm (the office is closed from 12:00pm-1:00pm for lunch) to schedule an appointment with a priest.
Desiree Michel-Wedding Coordinator