The Liturgy of the Eucharist in a Catholic wedding celebrates God’s presence with us in the Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe that God is always with us, but that he desires to be with us in a most particular way in the gifts of bread and wine, a desire first expressed by Jesus at the Last Supper.
Around the world, in numerous cultures and religions, partaking of a common meal marks those gathered at table together as friends who share one heart and one mind. At Mass, we celebrate that our sharing of the one bread and one cup binds us to one another and most especially to Jesus Christ whose presence we encounter as we receive him in Holy Communion.
Celebrating a wedding within Mass and sharing communion can be a powerful symbol of what the married life is all about: growing in faithful commitment to one another. Both Eucharist and marriage draw us evermore deeply into intimate union of body, mind, and spirit.
At the same time, if both spouses are not Catholic, or if a large portion of the congregation is not Catholic, the inability to share a common communion table can highlight division rather than unity and detract from the focus of the wedding day. In this case, The Order of Celebrating Matrimony calls for you to use celebrate Matrimony without Mass, which does not include the Eucharistic Prayer or Communion. This second form of the rite, does not mean your marriage won’t be sacramental. Speak with the priest or deacon helping you prepare for your wedding about which form of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony will be most appropriate for you.
The Three Parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Liturgy of the Eucharist has three main parts:
- the preparation of the altar and the offerings of bread and wine;
- the Eucharistic Prayer; and,
- the Communion Rite.
In the first part, the priest welcomes the gifts of bread and wine to the altar and prepares to pray over them.
In the second part, the priest prays on behalf of the community that God the Father will send the Holy Spirit so as to render the Risen Christ present with us and make us one.
In remembering the Last Supper, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we unite the gift of our lives to the gift of his life as an offering of praise and worship to God the Father. In the third part, all present express their unity in Christ through sharing a gesture of peace with one another and partaking of Holy Communion.
Throughout the Liturgy of the Eucharist, short congregational responses are sung or sometimes spoken. The person at the church who is helping you to coordinate your music and/or wedding service will be able to help you choose a setting that will be most familiar to those who are gathering for your celebration.
The Nuptial Blessing will take place after the Eucharistic prayer, before the Communion Rite begins.
Distribution of Communion at a Catholic Wedding
When it comes time for the distribution of Communion, the presiding priest will play an important role, and may need additional Eucharistic ministers to help with the distribution, especially if the cup is made available and/or the congregation is large. Whoever you might ask to serve as a Eucharistic minister for the wedding should be instructed in advance about when to come forward, where to stand, how to care for the sacramental bread and wine in the distribution, and what to do at the end of communion. Normally, these persons should be trained and commissioned to serve as Eucharistic ministers in their home parishes.
- Preparation of the Altar and the Prayer Over the Gifts
- Catholic Mass Preface
- Eucharistic Prayer for a Wedding
- Wedding Prayer After Communion