Should interfaith couples have a nuptial Mass?


First of all, we are members of the UCC Congregational Church. Our daughter is engaged to a Catholic and his mother is insisting on a nuptial Mass. We had agreed, out of respect for their strong Catholic beliefs, on having the wedding in their town – 7 hours away – and in their Catholic church. But we are having a very hard time with having a ceremony with a communion that excludes not only us but our daughter at her own wedding. Can you help us in dealing with this problem?


The problem is one that your daughter is going to have to address and address firmly, first and foremost to her prospective fiancé. She and her fiancé are the two who must determine the arrangements for their wedding ceremony, not his mother. Although his mother’s wishes should be considered respectfully and accommodated if possible and when reasonable, her insistence on a nuptial Mass that would exclude the bride from Communion at her own wedding is unreasonable.

While a Catholic and a non-Catholic Christian may have a nuptial Mass if they desire it, they are usually counseled to have a wedding ceremony outside of Mass because only the Catholic partner is able to receive Communion. This ceremony may be presided at by either a priest or a deacon and is just as valid an option as a nuptial Mass. Perhaps your daughter and her fiancé can request that his pastor explain this to his mother.

Once this problem is resolved, there is a way to accommodate this prospective mother-in-law’s desire for a Mass in conjunction with her son’s wedding: The groom’s family, those of the bride’s family who wish to go, and the couple can attend a Mass either the day before or the morning of the wedding. Only the Catholics present will be able to receive Communion at this Mass, but at least the non-Catholic Christians will not be excluded from Communion at the wedding itself.

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