Questions about Marriage in Catholic Church


These are probably questions that I should ask my priest but I am driving myself crazy with worry so I need answers (even vague ones) for sanity’s sake.

I got engaged on Valentine’s Day. I am in RCIA right now and will be confirmed on the Easter vigil; my fiance is a confirmed Catholic.

My family is much larger than his (my mom is one of 8) so my guests will be primarily non-Catholic Christians, would the priest still hand out the Eucharist to me, my groom and his family? or would the fact that more than 50% of the congregation not receiving make this cumbersome?

Can non-Catholics (but baptized Christians) read the first or second reading?

Finally, I was reading something about witnesses being the maid of honor and best man. My sister is my maid of honor and she is not Catholic. Could my bridesmaids (his sisters) be the witnesses without being the maid of honor?

If you’re married after you are received into the Church, then yes, you and your groom will both receive Communion–an important way to begin your married life together.

However, it’s not possible for non-Catholics to be invited (or permitted) to receive Communion, so the priest can’t do that part.

As for the readings, the general answer is no, they must be proclaimed by Catholics in good standing with the Church. In exceptional circumstances, this MIGHT be possible with the permission of the pastor and the bishop, but the better option is not even to seek that permission because the readings realy should be done by Catholics.

The witnesses to a wedding are just that–witnesses so that if there is later some question of whether or not the wedding occured they might be consulted. They can actually be any adults who are present for the ceremony. Usually in the US, the witnesses are the best man & maid of honor, but that’s a tradition, not a requirement. So, yes, the sisters could be the official witnesses.

You are right – Ask your priest (he’s likely heard it all)

This is a common occurrence. Make people aware of the Communion regulations – Print them in your program and/or announce them at the appropriate time, and things should be fine.

There is a requirement that the marriage have witnesses. There is neither requirement that the witnesses be the best man and maid of honor, nor that the witnesses be Catholic.



The wedding would be after Easter. I am not Wonder Woman and could never plan it that quickly. :smiley:

The witness thing is great to know about and honestly, I’ll just have my mom and/or non-Catholic friends speak at the reception. I’m sure my mom will find some sappy poem she would love to read.

You could also, not have the Liturgy of the Eucharist during the wedding. We didn’t at our wedding, since about 3 people would have received. The rest would have stayed in their seats, including my husband.

Marriages can be pretty stressful at the best of times and you seem to have some additional cares to contend with.

Twenty-nine years ago I married a confirmed Catholic in the Catholic church but I did not become Catholic until a year later. We had the sacrement of marriage preformed without Eucharist. The majority of my family were non-Catholic and not many of her family were in attendance. So far it has worked out pretty good.

As for the witness part, well, as our friend Tee has pointed out they just need to be and really there are few restrictions.

Anyway, God Bless you and your husband-to-be, Good Luck and “May all your trubles be little ones” (ha,ha)

The norm is for Catholics to have the marriage rite within the Mass. You will both be Catholics and should have a Nuptial Mass, which includes the Eucharist.

It is not cumbersome to dispense the Eucharist. Those who are not Catholic simply remain in their seats. We had a variety of people at our wedding, including many non-Catholic family and friends.

It is not prohibited, but you should check with your priest to determine what his rules are regarding the wedding liturgy.

Witnesses to the marriage do not have to be Catholic. Your sister can be both maid of honor and witness to the marriage. Or you can select someone else to sign the marriage certificate.

The norm in a mixed marriage is to perform the Marriage Rite outside of Mass.

However, she and her fiance will both be Catholics when they marry and the norm for Catholics is the Marriage Rite inside of the Mass.

Here is what Pope Benedict noted in Sacramentum Caritatis:

In this regard, I would like to call attention to a pastoral problem frequently encountered nowadays. I*** am referring to the fact that on certain occasions – for example, wedding Masses, funerals and the like – in addition to practicing Catholics there may be others present who have long since ceased to attend Mass or are living in a situation which does not permit them to receive the sacraments. At other times members of other Christian confessions and even other religions may be present. Similar situations can occur in churches that are frequently visited, especially in tourist areas. In these cases, there is a need to find a brief and clear way to remind those present of the meaning of sacramental communion and the conditions required for its reception. Wherever circumstances make it impossible to ensure that the meaning of the Eucharist is duly appreciated, the appropriateness of replacing the celebration of the Mass with a celebration of the word of God should be considered. (153)***

This would also help alleviate any confusion regarding just who can and cannot receive. It is not that there is any confusion on the part of the priest, but, there certainly winds up being confusion on the part of the guests. I do not think he is referring to mixed marriages here.

I would also add that when there are more non-Catholic guests, it is generally suggested that the Marriage take place outside of Mass, for the very reason you bring up. Mass is not prohibited but most pastors recomend that the Marriage Rite take place outside of Mass.

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