The Nuptial Mass

Tottering Hall is a Catholic enterprise, therefore we were married in a nuptial mass. A Catholic friend of mine said, “I feel sorry for the people I am going to invite to my wedding, because we are going to sing every great song and read all the most beautiful readings and it’s going to be the most drawn out mass you’ve ever been to in your life. Think about it–when else in your life do you get to plan your own mass? Never! Or at least, you would never get to enjoy it because the only other mass for you besides your wedding is your funeral!” How well said. Yes, I wanted to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to plan the mass of my dreams!

Here’s the thing–I wanted the mass choices to be personal and everything we came across felt so rote–I had no personal attachment to anything. In marriage prep, they gave us a “guide to planning your wedding mass” and there are many online resources available, but our priest said, “do whatever you want. There’s no limit to what you can incorporate into your mass because it’s your mass. The sky is the limit.” What a blessing and curse!

But I took his message to heart and the readings that we picked are not from the standard nine or twelve or however many are offered as choices. The first reading, for example, we picked because it was the motto of my husband’s division in the military (“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!”). The second reading was from the pre-approved list of marriage readings (“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers… Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have”). Responsorial psalm from the list of pre-approved psalms. But the gospel pick is the real winner. If you could have seen the faces of my sports-loving family members–largely the reason we picked John 3:16-21. Our priest noted that it was the most unique arrangement of readings but gosh it was us! he said and he proceeded to give a fantastic homily on humour, hospitality, and holiness.

For the music, we picked what we wanted anyway. Why not have an Opening Hymn after the procession? More singing! Communion Meditation? Throw it in! Especially to incorporate a little Jesuit love. We strayed from the version of the acclamation being used at our church because the Celtic versions are closer to what we sang before the revised missal. And whether “Ubi Caritas” (“Where charity and love are, God is there”) has any place in a wedding or should be strictly reserved for funerals,  or is the most beautiful, ingenius pick, I don’t know but it’s beautiful and what mass would be complete without some Latin so we included it.

My only moment of oops is the Profession of Faith–we did the Apostles Creed instead of the Nicene Creed–this may have been a big booboo but oh well.

So once we came up with some ideas for the mass, the next question was how to make a worship aid–and I am talking worship aid! I did not just want a program with a listing of readings, hymnal numbers and citations for where you can find this prayer that we don’t even know ourselves after the revised Roman missal. If you want people to participate, you have to make it obvious and easy for them! On top of my lofty goal, our church does not make worship aids for weddings, so between a very helpful church choir lady who helped me out of the goodness of her heart, the fabulous Brooke from Paper and Parcel who designed all of our paper for the wedding, and a true test of my liturgical knowledge, we came up with what I think is a not only a drop dead gorgeous piece, but also really helpful for our non-Catholic guests, who (very rightly so) might feel lost during a full mass.  I’ve included our worship aid below to share with other couples planning a Catholic mass, and because I LOVE the result.