Outdoor Wedding Mass?

If a parish or shrine has an outdoor altar, may they have an outdoor wedding mass and/or ceremony?

My guess is that it would be up to the Bishop of the diocese to make that call.

One of my cousins got married here : mothersshrine.com/

They had an outdoor seating area for the wedding mass.

There are weddings held at the Grotto, which is a very beautiful spot in Portland, Oregon, so I would think that that’s okay.:shrug:

There’s an outdoor shrine, and an outdoor altar right in front of it where masses are held.



It requires permission from the bishop.

Can. 1118 §1. A marriage between Catholics or between a Catholic party and a non-Catholic baptized party is to be celebrated in a parish church. It can be celebrated in another church or oratory with the permission of the local ordinary or pastor.

§2. The local ordinary can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.

Simply ask the priest who will preside, rather than bother the Bishop, and whatever his answer, do not bat an eye.

While you will only be married once, the priest has probably administered the sacrament often enough to have had the question arise before, and he hasn’t, his priestly obedience to Church and Bishop will ensure it’s done properly.

There is no need to dig into canon law bother the Bishop. Work through your Pastor or Priest.

In a worst case scenario, if the priest makes an incorrect call, it does not invalidate your matrimonial covenant. Illicitness of the Sacrament, if committed by accident or intent, by a lawfully ordained priest in good standing, administering the sacrament in on him, not you.

Also bear in mind that illicitness is more often accidental, and seldom willful or malicious.

Pray for our Priests!

Unfortunately, preoccupation with Canon Law has become a new form of scrupulosity.

If you rely on opening your heart to the Holy Spirit through prayer, you will seldom need to open the book of the Code of Canon Law.


I’m amazed at how often these simple, canonical questions, with clear answers, inspire you to lament how people make such inquiries…and now we have the dreaded “s” word thrown in for good measure.


This is good question which appears to be hypothetical. The answer has already been provided (c. 1118) but I would point out that the term “local ordinary” includes the bishop as well as vicar general and episcopal vicar. Furthermore, a bishop could delegate the ability to permit an “outdoor (sacramental) wedding” to any other cleric. (I doubt that would happen but it’s possible.)

The issue of the possibility of an outdoor *Mass *is actually addressed by a canon other than c. 1118. Canon 932 states that Mass can be celebrated outside a sacred place if necessity requires it; in which case, the celebration must be in a fitting place. The one who determines whether or not there is a necessity is, unless local law says otherwise, the priest himself.

If we are talking about place which has a consecrated altar, that would suggest that the place is certainly fitting.


This is an insightful observation.

On the other hand, people have a right to want to do things in accordance with law, and it’s not exactly a sign of spiritual weakness if they seek to be obedient.

I, for one, am happy that there are people who:

  1. Are aware that the Church has law (and there is a “Code of Canon Law”);
  2. Think the Church’s law means something;
  3. Think it is good to know what it is and bother to care what it says;
  4. Realize that it actually applies to many situations of daily life in the Church
  5. Try to see how it addresses this or that circumstance
  6. Ask questions about it


Is there a reason we shouldn’t follow the law? Is it scrupulosity if I don’t kill someone ?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.