Post # 1
He was planning to convert before we met (we met on catholicmingle.com). I want to do a whole mass for the wedding (june 2011), but would the priest allow that? His whole side (about 60 people) aren’t Catholic, but my whole side (about 75) practically is.
I don’t want to push him to convert before the wedding, because I believe that it’s a decision he has to make on his own. It won’t be genuine if he’s doing it because he has to, IMO.
What’s your opinion on the subject? Also if we have a mass, he still can’t accept communion, correct?
Post # 3
Our parish won’t let you have a full mass wedding unless both the bride and groom are Catholic.
Talk to Fiance and tell him that you want him to convert on his terms, but that you may not be able to have a full mass wedding if he hasn’t converted before the wedding. Maybe that is the motivation he needs to convert sooner rather than later.
Post # 4
Some priests/parishes will allow you have a full nuptial mass even if your Fiance hasn’t converted yet; some will only allow you to have a Catholic ceremony. It’s really up to your particular priest/parish. If your Fiance has not converted before the wedding, he will not be able to recieve the Eucharist.
I converted to Catholicism about one year before I got married, and I’m really glad I did before we got married. If your Fiance isn’t Catholic at the time of the wedding, he won’t be able to recieve the sacrament of marriage (which was very important for me). If you’re Fiance is really interested in converting, maybe you two should check out the RCIA classes at your parish. Sometimes people go just for more information, not necessarily to begin the conversion process. It might give him the info he needs to make a decision about his religious journey.
Post # 5
Ditto much of what @Mrs. Spring said. For another anecdote/ IRL experience: my Fiance is not Catholic, in fact he’s not even baptized, but we’re “allowed” to have a full nuptial Mass (in which Fiance can’t receive communion). His family, much like your FI’s family, is not Catholic at all – so, like you, we’re having a wedding in which half or more of the guests are not familiar with the ceremony. But, since Fiance comes to mass with me more often than not, and since our parish is VERY welcoming (priests encourage non-practicing members to come up during communion, but for a blessing rather than communion, & all the pews empty out), we’re taking the opportunity to share FI’s experience with all of our non-Catholic members so they can feel welcome at our wedding, too. For example, we have on our website a page explaining some of the basics to going to Catholic mass (done in a playful, but still respectful way…Fiance does the explaining about how to handle the standing, sitting, collective prayers, kneeling, etc.) & why we chose each reading, & we’re creating a pretty detailed worship guide with some pictures about how you should look when you’re going up for a blessing (rather than communion) during the Eucharist & cues about when to sit, stand, kneel, & bow your head (even if you’re not praying).
Sorry that was kinda detailed…but the point is, depending on your parish, you can still have a full mass even if your Fiance isn’t Catholic. If your Fiance decides to convert AFTER the wedding, you can still have a convalidation ceremony so that he can receive the sacrament of Marriage after he has converted. (not encouraging your Fiance to skip the conversion, but I TOTALLY agree with you that his conversion has to come in his – and God’s – time, not based on the wedding date). Praying for you & your Fiance…that you’ll both be guided by God as you make these decisions.
Post # 6
This is an interesting question. If you don’t have a full mass, it ight make the process easier for his side, in that there won’t be communion, in which they’ll awkwardly sit through and not participate. (However, this isn’t about them. It’s about you.) In that case, if he’s planning on converting, it would be nice to have that done before the wedding, so you can be unified for the ceremony, with a nuptial mass.
I would say, if he can do it by the time the wedding rolls around, and really sponge it all up, go for it. If it’s too much stress to try to get it all done beofre, then maybe wait. But if you plan on having kids anytime soon, that will only make his schedule more difficult to fit RCIA classes.
Post # 7
I also converted prior to my wedding (at the Easter before our November wedding). I really wanted to convert prior to the wedding so that I would be able to participate in communion and have the marriage be a sacrament! It was too cool an opportunity to miss out on just because of timing issues, so I found RCIA classes that fit my timeline and made it work.
If your fiance intends to convert, then if he can do it before the wedding it would be really awesome for him. But if he does not want to do it or is unsure, don’t push him just because of the wedding. Most RCIA classes run from late summer/fall through Easter. Since you’re not getting married until next summer, that timing will work out great for you! Investigate when the RCIA classes are at your local parish and encourage him to sign up when the time comes. RCIA classes are meant for you to explore the church, not commit to it right away, so even if he ultimately decides not to convert (or to postpone conversion), taking the classes would still be valuable.
As for the mass, our priest said that if only one party is Catholic he does not do a full mass. His reasoning was that a marriage represents unity, and for only one party to take communion would be disunitive. However, it is up to the individual priest. Good luck with everything.
Post # 8
- Wedding: July 2010 - Catholic Church & The Engine Room at Georgetown Studios
I want to reitterate what Chelseamorning said, making the committment to attend RCIA classes is not a committment to convert. It is just taking the steps to explore. I am a cradle Catholic who was never confirmed as a teenager. When I went through the confirmation process at age 25 I went through the full RCIA process with others who were converting. There were “decision gates” where the inquirer reflects on what he/she has learned so far and makes a consious decision to proceed. All the way up until a month or so before baptisim/confirmation. If he thinks he may want to convert “in the future” I would strongly encourage him to sign up for the next set of sessions. It will produce great dialogue between the two of you about the Catholic Faith and if he is confirmed before your wedding then you will have the option of the Nuptual Mass.
Post # 9
Our church won’t do a full mass if both are not Catholic as well. I know that the communion is optional – you could do that and just have your Fiance be blessed with crossed arms instead of taking communion.
Post # 10
We chose not to do a full mass, as I am not Catholic (my husband is). We thought it would be awkward to (as others have mentioned) have half the church and wedding party being blessed or sitting/standing/kneeling while the other half received communion. After 20 years of attending mass as a non-Catholic, I have to say I would not have been comfortable with a blessing while my husband received communion at our wedding. However, we have known from the beginning that I am not planning to convert to Catholicism…I’m too much of a Calvinist 🙂 So someone who is planning to convert may be more comfortable with a blessing while their to-be-spouse receives communion. You two should talk to each other and your priest and find out what you are allowed to do, then decide what you are comfortable with. Good luck!
Post # 11
I just want to clarify what Mrs. Spring and chelseamorning said regarding marriage as a sacrament. A marriage is considered a sacrament as long as it is between baptized Christians, whether Catholic or non-Catholic (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia). As long as he was baptized Christian, I don’t think his waiting to convert will not change the sacramental status of your marriage. You’re right, though, that he still would not take communion if you choose a nuptial mass. before his conversion To make that decision, I echo the recommendations above – check with your parish and then spend some time with your Fiance deciding with what you both feel the most comfortable. Good luck!
Post # 12
There are a few good resources out there that you can check out, one is the USCCB:
11. What is a Nuptial Mass and when can a couple have one?
A Nuptial Mass is a Mass which includes the celebration of the sacrament of marriage. It has special readings and prayers suitable to the Sacrament of Marriage. The Sacrament of Marriage between two baptized Catholics should normally be celebrated within Mass.
If the situation warrants it and the local bishop gives permission, a Nuptial Mass may be celebrated for a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized person who is not a Catholic, except that Communion is not given to the non-Catholic since the general law of the church does not allow it. In such instances, it is better to use the appropriate ritual for marriage outside Mass. This is always the case in a marriage between a baptized Catholic and a non-baptized person.