As Catholics, we believe that God is always with us and that we encounter him in a myriad ways. And yet, God has chosen to be present with us in a most particular way through scripture and the sacraments. The Liturgy of the Word is the part of Mass when we listen to scripture readings and a homily, recite together the creed, and pray the General Intercessions or Prayer of the Faithful. In this part of the liturgy, we celebrate Christ present to us in the Word.
Scripture and the Liturgy of the Word
Based on ancient patterns of worship in Jewish synagogues, our Liturgy of the Word juxtaposes several passages from the Bible alongside one another and invites us to listen for how God continues to speak to us today.
For weddings, as for Sunday Mass, three readings are normally chosen. The first reading is usually chosen from the Old Testament, followed by a Responsorial Psalm then the second reading taken from the New Testament. There is then a reading from one of the four gospels, preceded by an Alleluia or another sung verse.
Selecting Readers for the Liturgy
While the gospel is always read by a priest or deacon, the earlier readings can be read by others from the congregation. Often couples choose family members or close friends to proclaim the first and second readings. Select readers with care; not everyone feels comfortable reading aloud before others, nor is everyone able to proclaim loudly and clearly. Because we believe that God is present in the proclamation of this Word, you will want it to be easily heard and understood. Be sure to give your readers copies of the passages well before the wedding so they can prepare and allow time during the rehearsal for them to practice in church on the microphone that will be used during your wedding.
During the liturgy, the readings are proclaimed from a special book called the “lectionary.” This comes from the Latin root word “lectio” meaning “to read.” Reading from this text rather than a loose piece of paper, expresses our reverence for the Word of God and the proclamation of it in the midst of the gathered community. Your readers will want to be able to practice finding their assigned passages in the lectionary and reading it as printed there.
If you preparing a wedding worship aid (or wedding program) you may want to include the scripture references to the passages you have chosen, along with the refrain of your Responsorial Psalm.