Celebrating Marriage: Preparing the Roman Catholic Wedding Liturgy

By Dooley, Sandra | Pastoral Music, October/November 2007 | Go to article overview

Celebrating Marriage: Preparing the Roman Catholic Wedding Liturgy


Dooley, Sandra, Pastoral Music


Books Celebrating Marriage: Preparing the Roman Catholic Wedding Liturgy A Workbook for Engaged Couples, third edition. Edited by Paul Covino with Lawrence Madden, sj, Elaine Rendler-McQueeney, and John Buscemi. Pastoral Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1-56929-075-0. 136 pages, paperback, 6145. $11.00.

Among the many books and catalogues intended to help engaged couples prepare for their wedding, this is one that should be at the top of every Catholic couple's list. It's a valuable resource that I wish had been available when I was preparing for my wedding thirty-three years ago!

A theme stated in chapter one is evident throughout the book: "Nothing is more vital to liturgy than the active participation of all the worshipers." The authors make it abundantly clear that this fundamental principle of liturgy applies to a Catholic wedding. If only we could convince our Sunday assemblies of this principle!

In this book one can find a wealth of practical advice, such as the importance of contacting the parish before reserving the reception location and caterer, how to choose lectors and other ministers for the wedding, and how to deal with overzealous photographers, both professional and amateur.

In the introduction, the editor, Paul Covino, sets the stage for dealing with possible conflicts, advising couples: "Let your approach to these issues now be a positive beginning to the way you will handle similar situations during your marriage. The qualities mentioned in the readings and prayers of the wedding liturgy will serve you well in marriage and in this time of preparation: graciousness, hospitality, generosity, compassion, kindness, peace, and love." (Perhaps you might bookmark that page for the next "bridezilla" with whom you come in contact!)

The book has numerous sidebars or margin notes that are filled with very practical, personal, and historical background information, all explained in a warm, friendly tone. Some of the sidebar topics include: "When a Catholic Marries a Jew," "Your Wedding: A Celebration for the Whole Church," and "Beginning with Hospitality." In one of these sidebars, the authors emphasize that the wedding liturgy is a public celebration, connected not just with the local parish but with the universal Church. Couples are encouraged to view parish wedding guidelines "not as obstacles to overcome, but rather as an expression of the Church's desire to celebrate your wedding as an integral and welcome part of the parish's worship life" (page 15). The sidebar on pages 13-15 gives a beautiful explanation of the rationale for celebrating the wedding in a church rather than at the beach or in a hotel ballroom. …

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