Last we left off, we talked about the Rite of Marriage during the mass. Now, we’re moving on to the basic parts of mass that are included in ALL masses in the Catholic Church, not just a wedding mass. What am I talking about? The Liturgy of the Eucharist of course!
The Liturgy of the Eucharist is, I would argue, one of the most, if not the most, important part of mass. This is where we, as Catholics, believe that the bread and wine we are about to eat and drink actually transforms and becomes the body and blood of Christ. The liturgy of the Eucharist centers upon the altar, which we as Catholics believe is both a place of sacrifice as well as the table from which as Christians we are “fed.” The themes of sacrifice, thanksgiving and meal dominate this part of the mass.
Preparation of the Gifts: Gift bearers will bring up the bread and wine, as well as gifts for the poor (this can be a monetary donation or a basket of goods to be delivered to the local food pantry). We have chosen our mothers as our gift bearers, as we are not having a unity candle as part of our ceremony (something I will speak to in my next post!).
Prayer over the Gifts: The priest will perform the rituals of transforming the Eucharist into the body and blood of Christ.
Eucharistic Prayer: The acclamations of this prayer are sung (Holy, Holy; Christ has died; and Amen). The priest will then continue his prayer and rituals over the Eucharist.
Lord’s Prayer: Together, everyone assembled prays the Lord’s Prayer.
Rite of Peace: This is when peace and blessings are shared with those around you. Usually you will shake hands (or hug those you know) and offer, “Peace Be With You.” The Sign of Peace always gives me warm fuzzies inside—it’s a great way to connect with other parishioners. At our wedding, we will go share this greeting with our parents.
Communion: A song will be sung as those members of the assembly who are Catholic will come forward for communion—a piece of the bread (which is a flat, wafer-like disc), and a sip of the wine (usually blush or red in color).
This what the bread and wine typically look like.
(Click here for the Fabulous Source of the above photo—
seriously, she is a rocking photog!)
Prayer after Communion: The priest will lead a prayer of thanksgiving after communion is over.
So, that’s your basic Liturgy of the Eucharist. After that, the mass is starting to wind down, ending with the Concluding Rite.
Final Blessing & Dismissal: There is a final blessing of the couple, followed by the dismissal, in which the priest says “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
Presentation of the Couple: Usually, the formal presentation of the couple occurs right after the words of dismissal.
Recessional: A festive instrumental is played as we exit the church!
So, there you have it: A Catholic Wedding Crash Course in three parts. The whole thing usually lasts about an hour and 15 minutes or so (normal Catholic masses tend to last anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour). Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I’ll discuss our music selections (yay!) and some weird dos and don’ts the Catholic Church has laid out.
What is/was your ceremony like? How long did it last?