The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Second Edition Is Approved


The Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome has confirmed the English translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Second Edition with a decree of June 29, the most recent issue of the NewsLetter of the Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB reports. This is a translation of the revised official Latin rite which appeared in 1990.

The Introduction is now expanded. There is now a rubric in the official edition simply stating that “The procession to the altar then takes place in the customary manner,” since this varies from country to country. The second option remains, with the ministers greeting the couple at the altar rather than processing with them. There are now two choices for an admonition to the couple and congregation after the greeting. The Penitential Act is omitted and the Gloria is sung or said.

The minister now has two options (instead of one) for the reception of the consent. The consent may still be given as either a declaration or through questioning. Then there is a new verse and response: “Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God,” but this can be replaced by another acclamation.

There are now proper intercessions in Eucharistic Prayers II and III, and a proper Hanc igitur in EPI, which we’ve seen already in the 2011 Roman Missal.

The Order of Mass will no longer appear in ritual editions of the marriage book, which I believe means one will need to use the Missal along with the marriage book.

In the appendix there are now sample versions of the Prayers of the Faithful, a blessing of an engaged couple, and a blessing of a couple at Mass on their wedding anniversary.

Three adaptations requested by the US bishops were accepted, and two were not. An alternate form of the consent based on the Sarum Rite (with “to love and to cherish” for consistency with England and Wales) is approved. Two adaptations common in Spanish-speaking communities are also now accepted: the blessing and giving of coins between bride and groom, and the blessing and imposition of either a wedding cord/lasso or the veil.

Rome did not accept the US request to move the Nuptial Blessing from its place after the Lord’s Prayer to the end of the Prayers of the Faithful – it is considered more appropriate that this remain before Communion. The US request for optional inclusion of the Litany of Saints after the homily was also rejected, though the CDW acknowledged the good intentions behind the request.


  1. The insistence on the Roman options (nuptial blessing after Lord’s Prayer) is interesting – a different approach seems to be common for other countries/languages for which the alternate position has been approved.

    What were the reasons behind the litany of saints proposal?

    1. @Joshua Vas:
      The argument for the litany of saints was mainly a parallelism – we use the litany at other “vocation moments,” starting with our shared vocation in baptism and then also in ordinations or religious professions, so why not at weddings as well?

  2. You can sing the Litany as the post-consent hymn. You can even have it flow naturally into a sung Universal Prayer.

  3. Any opinions on whether the suppression of the penitential rite would still allow for a chanted Kyrie? CC Watershed opined that a sung Kyrie is not, strictly speaking, part of the penitential rite. Rather, it’s a part of the sung mass ordinary.

  4. Two questions:

    1. Is there any word as to when this revised translation will be available/published? And when it will need to be used?

    2. Am I right in thinking that a previous English/ICEL translation of the rite of matrimony, refused the recognitio by Rome (perhaps in the 1990s?) was among the first strong signals that Rome would be taking the path later charted by Litugiam Authenticam and leading eventually to the missal translation now in use?

  5. @Ryan Ellis

    I think we would have to see the latin text as the Graduale still presupposes it. We would have to see what the rubrical references were there.

    1. @Todd Orbitz:
      There are very few “rubrical references” in the Gradual, which moreover for Masses do not give the Ordinary but the Propers. The former is located, not so ironically, in the Kyriale, where settings are provided according to the celebration (ferial or memorial, in season or out of season). Hence no Kyrie is omitted, but the Gloria is in Masses XVII and XVIII (during Advent and Lent and in Masses for the Dead).

  6. CCWatershed has an idiosyncratic relationship with liturgical texts.

    One of the more recent USCCB newsletters addressed the Kyrie question. It made the very convincing case that it should be omitted when the Penitential Act is omitted. It changed my mind.

    1. @John Mann:
      I think you mean “an anachronistic relationship with current liturgical texts”, but even then…

      Considering that something I’d read years ago gave me the impression that the Gloria was part of the Penitential Act, I’d rather look at the Missal itself (i.e. the Gradual too). Now that may be idiosyncratic, but…

      I was going to cite Palm Sunday, but the GIRM itself says: “After the Penitential Act, the Kyrie…” (52). That may well have to do with it being part of the Ordinary, as the Watershed contends.

      Plus, though the GIRM citation goes on to mention it, it should be obvious that the Kyrie is not part of the Penitential Act because it must be used after Formulas I and II, though not after III because of its being already featured therein.

  7. Well, from a newsletter last fall, there’s this contrary implication:

    Chapters 37-39 – Blessings of the Advent Wreath, of the Christmas Manger, and of the Christmas Tree. Similar to chapters 47-49 in the Book of Blessings, these three chapters of the Bendicional provide blessings for
    an Advent wreath, a Christmas crèche or manger scene, and a Christmas tree. All three offer the respective blessing in a family setting as the first option, followed by the second option of blessing in the church during
    Mass or another liturgical celebration. (Although the Christmas tree blessing presumes only a family setting, the prayer of blessing could be used at Mass and celebrated either in place of the Penitential Act or after the homily.) Finally, in contrast to the Book of Blessings, the Bendicional provides for the blessing of the Advent wreath in a church during the Introductory Rites, in place of the Penitential Act (in which case, the Kyrie and Collect prayer follow the blessing of the wreath).

  8. I’m confused — why would benedicamus Domino follow the vows? Until recently, this formula was the replacement for ite, missa est when another liturgy such as Benediction follows Mass. In previous times, this formula was also used on Masses without a Gloria.

    It’d be awesome if benedicamus Domino /Deo gratias were again permitted as a substitute for the ite. Even the 1962 Missal rubrics strangely require that almost every Mass must end with ite, missa est. This rubric has carried over to the reformed rites. It simply does not make sense to dismiss and then start another liturgy. I’ll start the letter writing campaign.

  9. 1. I know couples who did the Litany of the Saints on their own. This won’t change anything.
    2. Most priests I know who move the Nuptial Blessing do it post-communion. I suspect it’s more common than people would like to admit.

  10. No priest should move the nuptial blessing to the end of the bidding prayers. First, it’s a liturgical abuse and abuse does not usually drive practice. Second, it makes no liturgical sense to place it there. While I don’t think the modern joining of the nuptial ceremony and Mass is a good thing, this does not mean that the nuptial blessing can be arbitrarily placed anywhere in the Mass.

  11. It is not just Spanish-speaking communities that observe the coin, cord, and veil custom–this has been part of Filipino marital custom for quite some time now. This could be traced to the fact that the Spanish version of the Ritual was used here for quite some time, and the Spanish Ritual’s marriage rite was based on the Mozarabic, which has those features. I understand that the marriage rite used in this country post-Vatican II maintained it, and I am glad that the new Order of Celebrating Matrimony recognizes this as well.

    Interestingly enough, even marriages conducted under non-Roman Catholic auspices ’round these parts feature the ceremonies in question.

    1. @Adam Booth, C.S.C.:
      My thoughts exactly – even the most practicing of Catholics are likely to need a text shoved in front of them in order to know what to say (and when), and wedding congregations are not jam-packed with practicing Catholics.

      @ Ryan Ellis:
      IMHO, formed when I first received that newsletter and reconfirmed on rereading now, the BCDW does a great job of providing the raw data . . . which inclines against their position insofar as they have based it more on their perception of a “close relationship” between Kyrie and Penitential Act than on the clear and explicit separability of the two. If, in exceptional circumstances, the Kyrie ought to be omitted, the books note the exception, so I would follow the Roman tradition you cite for using the Kyrie at OF weddings.

    2. @Adam Booth, C.S.C.:
      “A responsary after the giving of consent? Who do they think is going to make this response at any normal wedding?”

      Surely all the same people who, at private confession, when you say “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,” acclaim enthusiastically “For his mercy endures for ever.” It’s in the priest’s book, right?


  12. @joshua vas, @john mann, it seems to come down to this: when the rubrics say that “the penitential rite is omitted,” are we to naturally assume they mean by this that the kyrie is omitted, too?

    the newsletter here seems to say “yes,” citing a few examples from the rubrics. i could just as easily say “no,” citing a few examples from the rubrics. it’s simply not clear, or at least the inconsistency has led to a lack of clarity.

    i would submit that in such a situation, the arbiter (absent a clarification from Rome) should be the tradition of the Roman Rite. As you know, the penitential rite is the descendant of the prayers at the foot of the altar. In the traditional form, the PATFOTA were followed by the gradus prayers of the priest, THEN the introit, THEN the kyrie. no one would seriously link the kyrie to the PATFOTA.

    just so here. it’s a mass ordinary, with a separate ontology in the rite. it is not part of the penitential rite, and has to be specifically suppressed in the rubrics. at least that’s my conclusion from the newsletter’s lit survey.

    for weddings, the kyrie is not suppressed, but the penitential rite is. thus, the order should go:


    Similarly for Ash Wednesday, Asperges masses, etc.

  13. Question/Statement… I know that there’s a very nice arrangement of the Litany of Saints that can be sung as part of the procession, written by Tony Alonso and available through GIA, I think.

    Now the question. The Litany is allowed in other languages, correct? Is it allowed in Spanish? And if so, bilingual/bicultural weddings might have an opportunity/option available to them?

  14. Regardless of rubrics, which saints would be included in nuptial litanies of different cultures? What would be an example of a nuptial litany? I think it would be important for a nuptial litany to be flexible. In other words, local saints, the saint of the parish, and some saints close to the bride, groom, and their families would be appropriate. Merely reciting a common Benediction litany suggests a generic approach.

    I only ask because it is not customary in my background to include a litany at the nuptial Mass. I would hope that this would become more common in my [micro]culture. It appears to be a very beautiful custom. I can’t understand why the CDW wouldn’t like the idea. Perhaps the Congregation might reconsider their decision.

  15. Yet another example of rites imposed by people whose experience of parish ministry appears to be limited. In the US, at least, the presence of practicing Catholics at nuptial Masses is scant. I guess they’re thinking that a Gloria would add a festive touch but who will actually sing it? Perhaps the priest and cantor could do a duet while the rest stand there wondering what this is all about? So the rite begins as is “customary”. Will this mean continuing the fiction that brides are given away by their fathers? Or that the procession is about the bride all dressed in white featuring her fashionably clad attendants? That the groomsman and the priest enter from the sacristy with the groom in tow? 40 years of liturgical renewal flushed away by LA? Does anyone suppose that this “new” rite will increase the low numbers of Catholics seeking to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony?

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily:
      Technically, it’s the missal which mandates the Gloria when the nuptial Mass is used. The rite doesn’t make a mention of it at all. It simply says the Penitential Act is omitted.

      In any case, I would not use the number of practicing Catholics attending as a benchmark for what should and should not be maintained – as awkward as things may get. Were that the case, we’d be jettisoning elements of our funeral rites right, left and center.

      I’m not sure what exactly you are quoting, but (a) I would be surprised if “customary” in a liturgical books carries the interpretation you proposed (b) The new Order keeps the old rubric regarding the procession as first preference, and the second merely has the priest meet the couple (i.e. excluding groom and groomsmen in tow) at a different place, without saying anything about the procession.

      At the risk of rank heresy, I doubt many people give a care what the liturgical shape of the rite is (apart from maybe a couple of points) when deciding whether to get married in the church or not.

      Now it would have been more helpful to have printed the Order of Mass in the same book. Granted that technically one might have to celebrate another Mass, it is the nuptial Mass which is celebrated a good amount of the time. Now only the rubrically minded will bother opening the marriage book before the vows. Besides, I suspect that (whatever the rubric might say) without the text printed in situ, there will be innumerable variations of the elements after the Lord’s Prayer.

  16. I guess the CDW doesn’t want any rites added that aren’t already deeply engrained. So lets engrain it.

    IMO, tradition isn’t a big help with the Kyrie Question (I think this deserves capitalization) since the OF explicitly omits the Kyrie in situations the EF does not. Clearly, it was envisioned that the Kyrie would be omitted in more situations than is traditional. The connection between the Penitential Act and the Kyrie is now explicit insofar as we have Option C which combines them.

  17. I love the idea of a Litany of the Saints at a wedding — a specially designed one, filled with married saints! What a basis for reflection on the liturgy either before or after. I’d have used it when I was doing prep sessions with couples.

  18. Joshua Vas : Now only the rubrically minded will bother opening the marriage book before the vows. Besides, I suspect that (whatever the rubric might say) without the text printed in situ, there will be innumerable variations of the elements after the Lord’s Prayer.

    I don’t see too big a problem with not opening the book until the vows (apart from the bother of having had to purchase a book just to get those vows!), since the tradition in general and current practice are quite comfortable with a variety of liturgical books in use (at a typical Sunday Mass we use 3 – Missal, Lectionary, and Gospel book). If something is available in two places, just pick one and go.

    But I do think you hit on something with the problem of texts not provided in situ during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, for there I find celebrants rather reluctant to have an extra book with them at the altar just for a relatively short prayer. When our parish does blessings on wedding anniversaries they get the prayers after the homily but never the part that replaces the embolism. I worked as the wedding sacristan at a basilica for 7 years and hearing the nuptial blessing after the Lord’s Prayer – as opposed to shunted off to a point that didn’t “disrupt the flow” as much – was incredibly rare. If these things were accessibly integrated in the same book they would likely get more (or, as you point out, more faithful) use.

  19. last question … why not give the matrimonial blessing directly after the exchange of the vows? I don’t think that the Prayer Book custom of the presider delivering the admonition before the vows would be a good idea, principally because this has never been in keeping with the Roman mens. This is true even if the “blessings” of the Tridentine nuptials were more admonitions than blessings.

    There is something to be said for the invariable order of the Tridentine vows and nuptial Mass. Admittedly, the old ritual is a minefield of what some might consider misogynist or sexist (in particular, the admonition given to the bride, as well as the invariable use of Ephesians 5 as the epistle). It is true that there is no going back in the vast majority of circumstances, nor should there be a reversion.

    Perhaps it would be better to allow a choice of vows and attendant customs, but little other ritual variance. Also, the choice of readings should be much more limited, but certainly to allow a choice other than Ephesians 5 without excluding the Ephesians possibility if desired.

    Eh, I’ve seen wedding booklets which substitute the Responsorial Psalm for some syrupy-sweet “love poem”. Yuck! We live in an age where people expect customization of weddings in particular, so a less variable rite will probably be modified anyway as others have noted on the thread.

  20. I may have misread Todd Orbitz with my last comment, but if it is the Latin of the revised Order to which he’s referring, it probably wouldn’t be any different to what is stated above, in the post, or in the USCCB article, which does cite the “Second Edtion”.

    Speaking of which, despite my first comment, I read the whole NewsLetter piece, but it doesn’t change the Kyrie requirement in a Nuptial Mass. Let’s put it this way:

    If it were optional:
    -Even with the procession on Palm Sunday or (for the cited Papal Mass) February 2, both of which also have “sample introductions”, the Kyrie is optional.
    -Even without the procession-based reasoning for its retention, it is optional.
    -Even without the procession (!) … well, Palm Sunday requires it, but February 2 is fuzzy. (Here the cue is the line about Mass continuing in the usual way.)
    So there’s not much precedent to omit it.

    -GIRM 52 says of the Kyrie that it is always used after the Act, except when used therein.
    -I would bet the “if appropriate” line is not in the rubric omitting the Act.
    So, unless* smart is played and it is claimed that, were the Act required, Formula III would have been used, the Kyrie must be used at a Nuptial Mass. (God knows anyway the couple will be begging for mercy in the years to come!**)

    *I’m kidding, of course.
    **I’m kidding, of course… (No, not really 😉 )

  21. Here’s what the Bishops proposed for the Litany of the Saints for Marriage:

    Dear brothers and sisters,
    with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints,
    let us pray that God will crown and consecrate the love of N. and N.
    in the bond of mutual and lasting fidelity.

    Lord, have mercy. R./ Lord, have mercy.
    Christ, have mercy. R./ Christ, have mercy.
    Lord, have mercy. R./ Lord, have mercy.

    Holy Mary, Mother of God, and Saint Joseph, R./ pray for us.
    Saint Michael,
    Holy Angels of God,
    Saint John the Baptist,
    Saint Peter and Saint Paul,
    Holy Apostles and Evangelists,
    Holy Martyrs of God,
    Holy Patriarch Abraham and Sarah,
    Saint Zechariah and Saint Elizabeth,
    Saint Joachim and Saint Anne,
    Saint Prisca and Saint Aquila,
    Saint Basil and Saint Emmelia,
    Saint Margaret of Scotland,
    Saint Isidore and Blessed Maria,
    Saint Ferdinand of Spain,
    Saint Elizabeth of Hungary,
    Saint Louis of France,
    Saint Rita of Cascia,
    Saint Frances of Rome,
    Saint Thomas More,
    Saint Jane Frances de Chantal,
    Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton,
    Saint Gianna Beretta Molla,
    All Holy Men and Women, Saints of God,

    Christ, hear us. R./ Christ, hear us.
    Christ, graciously hear us. R./ Christ, graciously hear us.

    hear the prayers of your Church
    and strengthen this couple to become the great mystery of Christ’s union with his bride, the Church, that together they may reach the splendor of your kingdom,
    and there be found without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish.
    Through Christ our Lord.

    Following the prayer, the couple and the witnesses are invited forward and the Celebration of Marriage continues with the introductory address (no. 59 or 93).

  22. “It is considered more appropriate that [the Nuptial Blessing] remain before Communion.”
    Can anyone tell me why, beyond “It’s been that way for centuries” or “It’s our policy”?

    1. @Paul R. Schwankl:

      Henri Adam de Villiers, whose name some may recognise from New Liturgical Movement, writes about this (in French) in a blog from the Schola Sainte-Cécile, which he directs. I hope it helps:

      During a Mass celebrated for the husband and wife (endowed with proper prayers and texts since the fourth century), they are covered with a veil while the Priest pronounces over them a special blessing, the nuptial blessing. This blessing takes place between the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and Communion. [6] The placement of this blessing is not random; it used to precede the blessing formerly given before Communion by the Bishop to the faithful. [7] . . . .

      St Ambrose…is clear about this public ratification in church (and in front of it) of the Sacrament which husband and wife mutually administered in private: “It suffices that the marriage be sanctified by the imposition of the veil and the blessing of the Priest” [8].

      [6] Specifically after the Lord’s Prayer, while in the sixth century St Gregory the Great moved it immediately after the Eucharistic Prayer, following the example of the Byzantine rite

      [7] A blessing which exists at this point in all the other rites, Eastern and Western, but which disappeared from Roman books during the Middle Ages; the blessing given by the Priest at the end of Mass is a pale substitute in more recent times.

      [8] Letter XIX to Vigilius, bishop of Trent, 7 – cf. PL 16, 1026

      1. @Johan Oliveire:

        While that is all fine and dandy, we’ve moved the rest of the blessings. Why is the nuptial blessing the only blessing to remain here in the current liturgy, when the rest have gone elsewhere?

      2. @Sean Whelan:
        I can’t account for the (in)action of movers and shakers; clearly I merely provided a citation. But I will speculate this alone: the retention—note the word—of the Blessing is a reminder of when the Sacrament was not, technically speaking, a Sacrament.

        The article reminds that the vows, consent, exchange etc. were done at home and only then did the couple appear at the church for “public ratification”. The ritual that came about from this, as it took place during Mass* (for sacramental benefit), was best placed before the time when their union was, one may say, spiritually consummated. The Blessing, as represented in the veiling, was intended for wife and husband alike, as it spoke to the duties, including those of the procreative kind (cf. matrem + monium), of their new human state.

        So that now, even though everything is done at the church and *the Mass no longer functions as “for various needs”, we can find in the Nuptial Blessing the reminder that such union is best—for themselves and for us all—in Comm-union.

        PS: St Gregory’s doing seems to draw a parallel with the Blessing of the Oil of the Sick, though I don’t (yet) know why this has been done towards the end of the Eucharistic Prayer.

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