Wedding Mass and fallen away Catholics


My fiancé and I are getting married in August. Both of us are practicing Catholics and come from Catholic families. However, we have several people in our immediate and extended families who are not practicing their faith right now.

Yesterday, we asked the priest who is saying our Wedding Mass to make an announcement before the Mass about refraining from Communion if you are not in full communion with the Church. He told us that it will be written in the front page of the program. We asked again if he would be willing to make an announcement, too (me realizing that a lot of people don’t even look at the program). He said that was very redundant and he didn’t think it was necessary.

My question is, what should we do in this situation? Should we leave things the way we are and consider our duty done? Is there anymore responsibility on our shoulders about this?

The only other thing you can do is talk to your family. If Cousin Bob hasn’t been to mass in 20 years, then gently remind him of his need to go receive the sacrament of penance before receiving the Eucharist at your wedding.

Maybe you can use your wedding to bring the lapsed members of your family back to the faith.

If the priest won’t announce it (and my pastor certainly wouldn’t dream of doing so) and you’ve put it in your program I think you’ve done your part.

This is precisely why we opted to do Liturgy of the Word only. We’ll go to mass the next morning.

In my opinion, you have done your duty by requesting your pastor to make an announcement about the reception of Holy Communion only by Catholics in good standing with the Church. If he has refused to make the announcement, then the burden of responsibility falls on his shoulders. There is much confusion today about who can and can not receive Holy Communion among the laity as well as the clergy. Many of your relatives and friends may not really understand why they can’t receive. Their attendance at your Nuptial Mass can be a great source of grace for them and may help them to return to the practice of the Catholic Faith.

Congratulations! May God bless your marriage seven times seven.

A word to all: a Wedding Mass should be a Nuptial Mass which imparts special sanctifying grace especially to the bride. It is so special that ordinarily a woman may only be married in a Nuptial Mass once in her life.

Goodness! Why is this? What about special graces for the husband? Does he get unlimited Nuptual Masses but a bride only get one?

Listen to your priest.


It’s not your responsibility to police the entire world. Whatever decisions fallen away Catholics make are not your responsibility. As Catholics they have been taught the requirements for receiving the Eucharist. They will respect or ignore it and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I’m scratching my head, too.

Bride and Groom confer the sacrament upon each other- one is not given more, or special, graces in their nuptial mass. :confused:

Neither Canon Law nor the Church’s teaching on the Sacrament of Marriage stipulate any such thing. Please provide a Church document to back up your assertion.

Please check the Catholic Encyclopedia (can be found on Catholic Answers) under Nuptial Mass - 3rd paragraph. It specifies the parameters for the “Nuptial Blessing”. The identical information is also found in Adrian Fortescue’s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described. This book was the “go to” source for the last few hundred years.

(1) Neither the Catholic Encyclopedia nor Fortescue’s book are a Church document. You have yet to produce a liturgical or canonical document validating your assertion.

(2) This may have been true under past canon law, it is **not **true any longer. The content of the Nuptial Mass entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia corresponds to regulations under older codes of canon law as it was written in 1911.

(3) These regulations on the Nuptial Mass are not doctrinal in nature, they are disciplinary in nature (hence the reference to it being a “rule”). This same article also states a mixed marriage may not include a nuptial mass and that a mixed marriage must be celebrated outside the Church, without the blessing of rings or spouses, without any ecclesial rite or vestment, and without banns. None of these are true any longer.

**Was **being the operative word.

The canons of the 1983 code of canon law are now in force and they do not prohibit a woman from receiving the nuptial blessing if she has received it before.

As I requested, please produce a **Church **document (i.e. something from the Catechism, Canon Law, Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the GIRM, etc) to support your assertion.

I’m curious about this program. Is it a wedding program? Does the church provide you with the program or are you talking about a missal? I got to say if its an actual wedding program, I’ve never seen such an announcement, and its far more than our church provided when we got married. I’m saying I’m impressed.

I also have to say, it saddens me that couples even have to think of forgoing a nuptial mass because of the concerns over lapsed Catholics or other family members of other religions not fully understanding they can not receive the Eucharist. The nuptial mass is so beautiful, I always took a little pride in being a Catholic anytime I attended one growing up and couln’t wait until it was my turn. Anybody can plan a wedding, but we had the nuptial mass! The photos from our mass are my favorites out of all our wedding album.

My priest has the oposite reaction. We had a notice in our program, but when we meet with him for approval he asked us to remove it because he said he would make an announcement before communion and we didn’t need it in our program.

Actually, Pope Benedict XVI made this point in Sacramentum Caritatis:

The distribution and reception of the Eucharist

  1. Another moment of the celebration needing to be mentioned is the distribution and reception of Holy Communion. I ask everyone, especially ordained ministers and those who, after adequate preparation and in cases of genuine need, are authorized to exercise the ministry of distributing the Eucharist, to make every effort to ensure that this simple act preserves its importance as a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus in the sacrament. For the rules governing correct practice in this regard, I would refer to those documents recently issued on the subject. (151) All Christian communities are to observe the current norms faithfully, seeing in them an expression of the faith and love with which we all must regard this sublime sacrament. Furthermore, the precious time of thanksgiving after communion should not be neglected: besides the singing of an appropriate hymn, it can also be most helpful to remain recollected in silence. (152)

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)

Now, the missallettes do make a statement regarding the distribution of Holy Communion. What the OP can do is to copy what is written there into their wedding Mass programs.

Who publishes your missalettes? I’ve never seen that in the ones we use. And I’ve never seen anyone print such a notice in their wedding program for that matter. I know there are a few non-Catholics who come to our Church and don’t receive (DH for one) but I know that a good many do, including the ministers of the various non-Catholic parishes if they are present for funerals, etc.

As much as I detest the pubishing house, OCP got this one correct. WLP also has the same notice.

[LEFT]Below is a quote from the instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum and it seems to me that the priest bears the responsibility in this matter. I would agree that you should consider your duty done and leave it at that.[/LEFT]

[LEFT][84.] Furthermore when Holy Mass is celebrated for a large crowd - for example, in large cities - care should be taken lest out of ignorance non-Catholics or even non-Christians come forward for Holy Communion, without taking into account the Church’s Magisterium in matters pertaining to doctrine and discipline.** It is the duty of Pastors at an opportune moment to inform those present of the authenticity and the discipline that are strictly to be observed.**[/LEFT]


Kind of makes you wonder why my pastor has no problem giving Communion to known non-Catholics such as the Ministers & Pastors of the local non-Catholic churches.

We printed it in our program.

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