The Catholic Ceremony, Part Three

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). 

Bread and Wine
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?

Catch up here:
Part One
Part Two



Filed under Ceremony

6 responses to “The Catholic Ceremony, Part Three

  1. Oh my! There’s so much, but how wonderful 🙂

    Our ceremony will be outside overlooking the beach. We will have a couple prayers, one opening, one closing, sand unity pouring, a scripture reading, and our vows. I think the whole ceremony will last about 30 minutes at the most. I can’t wait! 🙂

  2. How are you serving Communion at your mass? Our priest is having our MOH and BM serve (they happen to be catholic).

    I’m super interested at what songs you have picked for the ceremony. It’s fun to realize that there is another person out there doing the full mass.

  3. amyc13

    Hey Yezelbelle!

    You’re right, it is exciting knowing someone else who is doing a full mass!

    As far as communion goes, our church has us choose two communion ministers. We are having my fiance’s high school mentor (who coincidentally is a Franciscan Brother), and my fiance’s dad do it. We figured that was a nice way to honor both of them, since the father of the groom doesn’t really have a lot of roles on the wedding day (the father of the bride sort of takes the spotlight, haha!).

    I am excited about our music too–at first I thought I was going to feel constrained, but I am so happy with everything we chose. Look for that post tomorrow! 🙂

  4. A full mass is a beautiful service, I have been to several before. So touching and full of ritual. Our service is very different than a Catholic mass but is perfect for us. We are having an outdoor self uniting Quaker wedding ceremony. It is nice to read about everyone’s individual and very personal choices. 🙂

  5. Pingback: The Catholic Ceremony, Part 4 « Little Miss Wedding Planner

  6. Pingback: Help Us Pick a Wedding Photo « The Bookworm Wife

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