Worship News | July 2015 Worship News | June 2016
The Revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony
dctgplrrgd14zwu4v6zy7vl6dzhp5w74Archbishop Kurtz, president of the USCCB, has issued a Decree of Publication for The Order of Celebrating MatrimonyHe established that the text may be published but not released for distribution until August 25th.  It may be used in the Liturgy as of September 8, 2016 and its use will be mandatory as of December 30, 2016.  After that date no other English edition of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony may be used in the dioceses of the United States.  The USCCB, Catholic Book Publishing Co. and Liturgical Press will be the publishers of this book.  The English/Spanish edition will be published by Liturgical Press.

On May 20 and 21 the Archdiocese of Detroit hosted one of the 31 workshops presented by Rev. Andrew Menke from the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship (BCDW) and Rita Thiron from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC).  This Worship News will be devoted to sharing with you what we learned at this workshop.

Marriage is a Sacrament
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28: 19-20

This is our mission. And this is Christ's promise to us.

As Catholics we believe that Christ is truly present to us throughout our lives but most explicitly in the sacraments which we celebrate.  When we come together as Church, the Body of Christ, for the celebration of a sacrament, we believe that Christ is really present sharing his life, his word, his love and his spirit as we receive that sacrament.  Sacraments belong to the Church not to an individual
Sacraments make known who we are; they are expressive.
We are sinners. We are sick. We are hungry. We are alone; etc.

Sacraments make us who we are meant to be…they are constitutive;

We confess, are absolved and become those forgiven by God, reconciled to the Church 
and welcomed to the table of the Eucharist.
We are anointed with blessed oil and become those who trust in God and share in Christ’s
redemptive suffering.
We are fed and become the Body of Christ.
We are married and become a community of persons, a sign of God’s agape (love) in our midst.

However, reception of a sacrament is not an end in itself.   It is the beginning of a growing, maturing process that makes us more like Christ.  In a Lenten Message 2015, the bishops of Kenya writing about the Sacrament of Marriage said:
“….many (young people) concentrate on their wedding day 
and forget the life-long commitment they are about to enter into.” 

They need to be encouraged to see the sacrament not as a single moment that then becomes a part of the past and its memories, but rather as a reality that permanently influences the whole of married life.  (Pius XI Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii)

Marriage as a Sacrament
At Vatican II, in the document Gaudium et Spes (#48) we read:
 “_____God himself is the author of Marriage.”  “God created humankind in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  God blessed them, saying  Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth…” (Gn 1: 26-28)
Man and woman were created for each other.  “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a suitable partner for him…The two of them become one body” (Gn 2: 18; 24).  Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in marriage both are united in an unbreakable bond.  (USCCB Catholic Catechism for Adults, p. 279)  
But original sin had grave consequences for married life.  “…..there was a rupture of the original communion between man and woman.  Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations; their mutual attraction, the Creator’s own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust; and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work.  (CCC, #1607) 
Jesus restored marriage and the family to their original form (Matthew 19: 3-6) and raised marriage to the sacramental sign of his love for the Church. It is through the Church that “marriage and the family receive the grace of the Holy Spirit from Christ, in order to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s love.” (Amoris Laetitia, 71).
Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, teaches us about the Sacrament of Marriage.  He writes:

The sacrament of marriage is not a social convention, an empty ritual or merely the outward sign of a commitment.  The sacrament is a gift given for the sanctification and salvation of the spouses, since “their mutual belonging is a real representation, through the sacramental sign, of the same relationship between Christ and the Church.  The married couple is therefore a permanent reminder for the Church of what took place on the cross; they are for one another and for their children witnesses of the salvation in  which they share through the sacrament”. (#72)

…The sacrament is not a “thing” or a “power”, for in it Christ himself “now encounters Christian spouses…He dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens”.  Christian marriage is a sign of how much Christ loved his Church in the covenant sealed on the cross, yet it also makes that love present in the communion of the spouses. (#73)

…the sacrament of marriage flows from the incarnation and the paschal mystery  whereby God showed the fullness of his love for humanity by becoming one with us. Neither of the spouses will be alone in facing whatever challenges may come their way. Both are called to respond to God’s gift with commitment, creativity, perseverance and daily effort.  They can always invoke the assistance of the Holy Spirit who consecrated their union, so that his grace may be felt in every new situation that they encounter. (#74)

…Lovers do not see their relationship as merely temporary.  Those who marry do not expect their excitement to fade. Those who witness the celebration of a loving union, however fragile, trust that it will pass the test of time.  Children not only want their parents to love one another, but also to be faithful and remain together.  (#123)

Men and women marry and they have done so since the beginning of time.  Today’s media has created its vision of what happens ~ should happen at the marriage ceremony.  And through the years customs have been invented and spread like wildfire, each bride and groom investing a huge amount of time and money to make their ceremony unique and memorable.  But none of this vision can claim to be a sacrament. 

When a couple comes to the Church and enters the process of preparing for their marriage they are preparing to receive a sacrament.  The Order of Celebrating Matrimony exists as a part of the liturgical heritage of the Church.  The couple needs to learn about that heritage and prepare from the among the options open to them in The Order of Celebrating Matrimony.  
The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Second Edition
Table of Contents
  • Decrees
  • Introduction
  • Chapter I:  The Order of Celebrating Matrimony within Mass
  • Chapter II:  The Order of Celebrating Matrimony without Mass
  • Chapter III:  The Order of Celebrating Matrimony between a Catholic and a Catechumen or a Non-Christian
  • Chapter IV:  Various Texts to Be Used in the Rite of Marriage and in the Mass for the Celebration of Marriage
  • Appendices
            I           Examples of the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful)
            II         The Order of Blessing an Engaged Couple
            III        The Order of Blessing a Married Couple within Mass on the
                        Anniversary of Marriage
What is NEW in The Order of Celebrating Matrimony?
  • the name has been changed from the Rite of Marriage to The Order of Celebrating Matrimony
  • throughout the document Matrimony as a Sacrament is emphasized
  • there is an expanded Introduction emphasizing:
    • the importance and dignity of the Sacrament of Matrimony
    • the role and responsiblities of the various ministes of the church in preparing couples for the sacrament and celebration
    • the communitarian character of the celebration encouraging participation of the community
  • The Introductory rites include:
    • two forms of the Entrance Procession
    • clearer explanation of the procession ... speakers at the workshop encouraged that this be a true liturgical procession with Cross, candles, etc.
    • text for two forms of a formal Greeting
    • Penitential Rite is omitted
    • Gloria is sung (recited) when the Ritual Mass for the Celebration of Marriage is used (even during Lent and Advent)
  • Expanded /Retranslated collects and prayers
  • The Liturgy of the Word includes:
    •  an expanded set of Scripture readings
    • the directive that at least one of the readings used must explicitly speak of the Sacrament of Matrimony. These are marked with an asterisk in the ritual
  • The Celebration of Matrimony includes:
    •  an expanded address to the Bride and Groom
    • questions before the consent are answered individually ... I have, I am ...
    • alternate form provided for the "Reception of Consent" that invokes Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and even Adam and Eve
    • following the consent, the whole assembly is invited to respond:
      • Celebrant: Let us bless the Lord
      • Assembly: Thanks be to God
    • the Blessing and Giving of Arras has been added to the celebration as an option after the Blessing and Giving of Rings. Although a cultural adaptation, this option may be used by all couples.
    • a Hymn or Canticle of Praise is sung by the whole community after the Blessing and Giving of Arras
    • in the celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony, the community present is meant to participate and not be mere spectators
  • The Liturgy of the Eucharist includes:
    • a prayer for the couple is now provided for Eucharistic Prayers I, II, and III
    • two sample Universal Prayers (Prayers of the Faithful) are provided
    • the Blessing and placing of the Lazo or Veil may take place before the Nuptial Blessing. Although a cultural adaptation this option may be used by all couples.
    • chant notation is provided for the Introduction of the Nuptial Blessing and for the Nuptial Blessing proper ... At the workshop the Nuptial Blessing and its Introduction were chanted. It was amazing how the words of the Blessing took on increased meaning.
  • Other changes include:
    • there are directions for the posture and place of the couple for the Nuptial Blessing
    • there are rubrics for the signing of the Marriage record
    • finally, there are two new rituals provided in the appendices:
  1. An Order of Blessing an Engaged Couple
  2. Order of Blessing a Married Couple within Mass on the Anniversary of Marriage (This rite includes sample formulas for a renewal of commitment and a blessing of rings, both for the original rings or for new ones). 
    Please note… there is no renewal of vows.  Vows taken once are forever.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FDLC has created a series of frequently asked questions.  I am sure that there will be many more questions as we begin to work with the Order for the Celebration of Matrimony, but these perhaps will begin to make some things clear.

July Worship News
More information about this ritual will be in the July Worship News

May the summer provide you with rest and time to enjoy God’s creation.

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