Order of Celebrating Matrimony
Resources for the Order of Celebrating Matrimony
A translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony will be published in January 2016. This a new translation of 2nd edition of the Latin Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium and replaces the Rite of Marriage first published in 1969. It will come into use at Easter 2016.
The Order of Celebrating Matrimony will be:
- published in January 2016
- mandatory liturgical use from Easter (27 March) 2016
- published by Catholic Truth Society
The Liturgy Office website will offer the following resources:
- Texts and Excerpts from the Order of Celebrating Matrimony,
- Material to help prepare the Marriage liturgy. (in preparation)
For information about the Church's wide-ranging support of Marriage and Family life - catholicfamily.org.uk
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is it?
- The Order of Celebrating Matrimony is the book for the Catholic Church in England and Wales which contains the liturgical texts (prayers and guidance) for the celebration of weddings.
- The book contains an Introduction which provides an overview of the Church’s understanding of marriage and then goes through various aspects of the liturgical celebration. There are four versions of the Marriage liturgy according to different circumstances:
- Marriage within Mass,
- Marriage without Mass,
- Marriage with an assisting layperson (see What is new?)
- and Marriage between a Catholic and a Catechumen (someone seeking baptism as a Catholic) or a non-Christian.
- When will it be published?
- The Order of Celebrating Matrimony will be published by the Catholic Truth Society in January 2016.
- When will it come into use?
- The Order of Celebrating Matrimony will be mandatory from Easter 2016 (27 March). This means that the previous text may not be used from that point.
- Why is a new translation needed?
- Since 2002 the Church has been committed to new translations of each of the liturgical rites. The first to be released was the new translation of the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal which came into use in 2010. The translations of Confirmation and Marriage are the first to be published since then.
- With the renewal of the liturgy of the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council the first translations of these rites were published in 1969. With the Order of Celebrating Matrimony a second edition of the Latin text has been produced which introduces some new elements.
- What is new?
- The 2nd edition of Order of Celebrating Matrimony was published in Latin in 1991. This is the first approved English translation of the text.
- It is important to note that much of what is familiar about the rite has been retained. The following are some key areas where the 2nd edition enriches the text of rite.
- The Introduction is much expanded given a fuller theology of Marriage and guidance to the liturgy.
- When Marriage is celebrated within Mass a Gloria is said or sung as a sign of the festivity of the occasion.
- The readings which are chosen for the wedding need to include one reading which speak explicitly about marriage, for example the account in John’s Gospel of Jesus at the Wedding at Cana.
- After the words of Consent have been said by both bride and groom there is an opportunity for everyone present to thank God with a short acclamation.
- As noted above there is a new chapter Marriage ‘in the presence of an assisting layperson’. It should be remembered that Catholic liturgical books are intended for different situations across the whole world and it is not considered that there is a need for this within England and Wales.
- Also mentioned above are the two Blessings for engaged couples and for married couple on their anniversary.
- We are getting married at the end of February 2016 – How will it affect us?
- The rite which will be used will be the first edition published in 1969. So you will not be directly affected by the new translation. However if you have not prepared the wedding liturgy yet you may find some of resources available elsewhere on the site helpful.
- We are getting married in April 2016 – How will it affect us?
- The new Order of Celebrating Matrimony will be in use from Easter Sunday, 27 March 2016. So a wedding in April will use the new translation. When you prepare for your wedding either with your priest or as part of marriage preparation course you will have the opportunity to look at the liturgy and the choices you can make.
- I am going to a Wedding in April 2016 — What should I know?
- If you have been to a wedding in a Catholic Church before it will be familiar. The format of the liturgy will be the same as will be the main texts for the celebration of marriage.
- Your presence will be important at the wedding as a member of the congregation as a witness to the wedding through your prayer and participation and as a support.
- What is the form of a Catholic wedding?
- There are differences in the form of the service depending on whether Mass is celebrated or not. All the forms of service are full Catholic marriage liturgies. The choice of service will usually depend on who is getting married and the ability to participate in the liturgy in particular to receive Holy Communion. Normally Marriage with Mass is celebrated where both bride and groom are Catholic. As a rule when a Catholic marries another Christian the Marriage without Mass is used. At this liturgy it is possible for Holy Communion to be distributed from the reserved Sacrament. Though for many Catholics receiving Holy Communion is an expected part of a liturgy consideration should be given to who will be able to receive Communion. If only a small group receive what should be a moment of communion can be a moment of exclusion. It is worth reiterating that Marriage without Mass is a full Catholic marriage liturgy. There is also a chapter which is for Marriage between a Catholic and either a Catechumen (someone seeking Baptism in the Catholic Church) or a non-Christian. The structure of the service is similar to Marriage without Mass but the texts recognised that one of the couple is not baptised and are adapted accordingly.
- The service begins with the welcome of the bride and groom and the introduction to the liturgy. This is followed by readings from scripture which speak of marriage and God’s love for us. The liturgy of marriage follows where, after answering a series of question about their understanding of marriage and their freedom to marry, the couple exchange their consent. The rings are then blessed and exchanged. There are then prayers for the newly married couple and for all who are married. The next common element is the nuptial blessing where the couple are prayed and their future life together blessed. After the liturgy the civil registers are signed.
- Where can I find out more information?
- The Liturgy Office website offers the following:
- Texts and Excerpts from the Order of Celebrating Matrimony
- Resources to help couples, ministers and musicians prepare the Wedding liturgy
- Can I have my favourite poem?
- Every wedding liturgy is unique. It will provide a series of images and memories that will give the couple a wealth of memories to recount and reflect upon. Couples will want to prepare the liturgy with care considering such elements as the scripture reading.
- It is also a celebration of the Church which means that the structure, texts and how the liturgy is celebrated are laid down. Any reading in the Liturgy of the Word should be taken from scripture (the Bible) and cannot be replaced by another text. In a similar way any music played or sung should normally be taken from the Church’s long and living tradition of music. Texts should be expressive of the faith of Church.
- It is important to remember that the Marriage liturgy is one of a sequence of events that make up the whole of the Wedding Celebration. It is not therefore necessary that a favourite poem or song is included within the liturgy; it may be better placed within the wedding reception.