Bride and Groom Giving out Communion?

Okay I was recently told by a family member that the Pastor in their Catholic church asked if the Bride and Groom, who were Extraordinary Ministers, would like to distribute Communion to their guests at their wedding mass. Apparently they did do this and many (in their parish) thought this to be so special for them? I thought extraordinary ministers were used only when necessary?? Like when the number of people receiving Communion was excessive to the Priest/priest being able to give out Communion in a timely fashion. Was it okay for the Pastor to offer to the Bride and Groom to take on this duty during their Wedding Mass? I am not sure as to whether or not the Priest, himself, even actually gave out Communion during the Mass except to the Bride and Groom. :eek: I am sure that Pastor was able to give out Communion (not physically unable) and that the number in attendance at the Wedding Mass was less than 200 people. Please advise as to whether this is Liturgically allowed to be done by the Pastor/Priest celebrating the wedding mass or not.
Kathy :slight_smile:

Hard to answer without knowing that one detail that you said you cannot provide: Did the priest distribute communion?

I am assuming that he did give out Communion to the Bride and Groom. In asking them would they like to distribute Communion to their guests makes me think that they did all the Communion distribution to everyone else present. Not sure that makes a difference in my original question however. I am asking is the rule that extraordinary ministers only distribute communion when necessary to expedite the mass in a timely fashion or can a priest/pastor decide to allow a special circumstance to a bride and groom during their wedding mass to have them distribute communion to their guests??? This priest did mention that he had never had the opportunity to allow this as he has never married two people who were extraordinary ministers until this wedding.:confused:

I have never been to a wedding where the bride and groom were EMHC’s. However, at my uncle’s and my father’s funerals, in January and February of this year, I offered my services as an EMHC. At my uncle’s funeral, the priest was elderly (he had a stroke two weeks later and is no longer able to serve as an associate at his parish). At my father’s funeral, I offered the Precious Blood to the congregation, while the priest offered the Body of Christ.

Whether or not the priest distributed to the assembly is important in this discussion.

If the priest did not distribute and instead went and sat down while only the bride and groom did so, that is not appropriate.

If, however, the priest DID and the bride and groom assisted him, as at a normal Sunday mass, that would be … permissable.

Yes, LEGALLY you could say that the use of extraordinary ministers was not technically needed with such a manageable sized crowd. However, I would hesitate to criticize one priest or parish for simply practicing what is so common place in practically every parish in every diocese of the country. If you were to indict this practice, it is only fair to do so in the context of our entire contemporary church.

So, that being said, if the priest distributed and had them assist, I say not only is it technically allowable, but also a great gesture - theologically, the bride and groom ministering to those who came to minister to them. If in fact the priest distributed only to them, then sat while they distributed, my opinion would be that that practice is certainly not ideal or correct.

Lay people are not to take on more than one role at a liturgical service unless absolutely necessary - like on a battlefield or something. Since Bride and Groom are already perfoming a function they should not be EMOHC also.

Ding ding ding ding…we have a WINNER!!!

Here is the problem with the Liturgy today…Many priests and Liturgists follow the rules backwards…many times the raionale is that if a liturgical practice is not explicitly mentioned as somthing not to be done or “if it doesn’t say you CANT do it then it must be OK to do.”

An overboard example would be a priest processing into mass on a Harley Davidson…well it doesn’t say you can’t do that…so I guess its allowed…you can almost hear the theological argument…“well… Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ***! why cat the priest ride in on a Hog!!!”

No, it was improper to do this. Some pastors also allow parents to give their children First Holy Communion, this is also forbidden.

:eek: No way!!! That’s just WRONG!

Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised at some of the stuff that goes on out there.

When are they (priests and lay people alike) going to get it into their prideful heads that they just can’t re-make the Mass in their own image? :shrug:

So very sad.


I found out today from my family member that the priest AND a deacon were on hand for this wedding. The Bride and Groom gave out Communion while the Priest and Deacon gave out the Precious Blood. When I heard this the only thought that came to my mind is “WHY?” It really shifts the emphasis of the Mass from the Eucharist to the Bride and Groom serving Communion to their guests. I have a hard time with this. If it were my own wedding I do not think I would want to distribute Communion out to all who attended. It is just so strange to me. Many in the church thought it was a special gesture allowed by the priest but it just doesn’t sit well with me. :frowning:

If nothing else, the priest should have been the minister of the Body of Christ, and the deacon the Precious Blood.

OK, yeah, this whole situation IS a little weird.

There is something to this. In many cases, and a good example fails my mind at the moment, the legality and propriety of something will be checked. If the documents are silent on the subject, that is when other considerations come into play. For instance, what is the whole tenor of the documents saying, in context?

In some cases, this justification is proper and ok. In others, like the admittedly “overblown” example you gave, there are plenty of reasons why that is wrong, even if not explicetly stated.

In my opinion, posts which assert something can or cannot be done are as credible as 1) their documentation from Church sources, 2) the proper reading of those sources, and 3) the reasons used to develop a position.

Similarly posts which assert that something should or should not be done, even when permitted, are only as persuasive as the reasons. Then they become useful to those who read the threads in the future, and that is an excellent service that posters can offer to others. So I encourage that and add a small contribution now.

Perhaps it would be helpful to consider the documents of the Church in thinking about multiple roles. There are several (in translation) that might be considered. Someone may be aware of other references that should be added that will correct or modify any conclusions that might be drawn from these.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, n. 28, addresses this. “In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do (agat) all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.” “Agat” is the subjunctive which has the force of a mild command, a principle, or a general rule.

MR, General Instruction, 109: “If there are several persons present who are able to exercise the same ministry, nothing forbids their distributing among themselves and performing different parts of the same ministry or duty.”

RS, n. 43 then provides: “It is appropriate (convenit) that a number of persons distribute among themselves and exercise various ministries or different parts of the same ministry.”

So here is the question, is this preceptive law that never admits to exceptions based on need or when suitable reasons appear to the priest in a concrete situation? If so, why? If so, why not?

When we read the context of MR, General Instruction, n. 109 and RS n. 43, we also note that they are addressing certain liturgical roles which have been named in those documents. MR mentions them in nn. 98-107. RS mentions them in nn. 43-47. Bride and groom are not on that list.

How will this fact influence deciding this question of whether it can be done? Of course, whether it should be done if it shifts emphasis from the Eucharist to the Bride and groom is another matter. Who is suited, and permitted in law, to make that judgement whether it will or won’t in a particular case?

See RS 87, of course, regarding first reception of Holy Communion by a priest. There is, of course, a reason for the norm.

I am glad I did not get invited to that wedding, and that I have never seen this before.

That is all I can say.

At our wedding, we (bride and groom) did distribute the Blood of Chirst to those who came forward for communion. The priest first discussed the reason for this: During marriage preparation, our view (my wife and I) saw the sacrament of marriage as a sacrament of service to the community, the Church, and the world. So, by the time communion came, we were married. Therefore, to begin our life of service together, he allowed us to serve the community as EMHC.

There were more in attendence at our wedding than I see at many of the daily and Saturday night masses where EMHC are used. Also, the rubrics rarely express the manner in which both the Body and Blood are to be offered when only the priest is present and intinction (which is forbidden in our diocese) cannot be used. It seems in this situation EMHC are necessary.

20 years and going, going, going, …

Extraordinary Ministers are used almost all the time whether there is a valid need for them or not. That is a fact of life that we have to deal with. The practice is so ingranied that i doubt anyone could ever change it.

Lets just be thankful that it is not worse than it is. Back in the 80’s, I was working in deep South Texas. The local parish did not have a Priest and the local sisters***:bigyikes: a truly amazing and radical group took matters into their own hands. In true ecumenical and forward thinking style,:thumbsup: they conducted masses in the absence of the Priests, including consecration pf the Host which more often than not was a stack of corn tortillas. Corn because that was the food of the people.

The priests that would come by once a month or so saw no harm in this and since they all preached liberation theology and treated our parish as a northern “Base Community” basically anything was all right. As long as it departed from Traditional Catholicism that is.:thumbsup:

Getting back to the situation at hand, as long as the Priest also distributed Holy Communion, there is nothing illegal or illicit in what happened. Both bride and groom were trained in their actions and since the Mass is all about us and how special we are what is the complaint?

Weddings should be more about the Sacrament than about the romance. Save the romance for the reception and wedding night. I do not want to see lovesick newlyweds handing out Hosts as they are constantly looking into each other’s eyes, or hear the bride and groom sing sappy love songs to each other during communion- or any part of any Mass. I do not want to see everyone spoiling the ring bearer and flower girls in the church after the wedding is over- and not taking time to pray. I do not want to see people lighting unity candles, which make it seem like it’s all about them and not about God.

Thank you , I forgot to come back and clarify.

This is what I was thinking of-

And the lector should not also take on the role of server and/or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. There is a wide variety of services to be performed, and it is desirable that different individuals exercise those services so that the talents and gifts God has placed within the Christian community are fully utilized and these roles of service are not monopolized by a few.

The bride and groom were not performing a function as set forth in the GIRM. Those functions are acolyte and lector.

I am very impressed with the reasoning of your response. My husband and I also distributed Holy Communion at our wedding. We had two priests con-celebrating the mass. Although I was too young, at the time, to have thought it through I do remember having a real sence of serving the people who blessed us with their presense at our wedding. I was an extraordinary Miniser but this was the first time my husband had ever done this.

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