Post # 1
I’m Catholic & marrying a guy who was raised in a very evangelical Christian faith. He no longer participates in his faith & is very supportive of getting married in a Catholic church and even raising children Catholic which is awesome. I met with the priest last week to set the date and he asked me if I wanted a mass or not.
I’m thinking that a full mass will cause a lot of friction with FI’s family who will already be pissed about the open bar and dancing at the reception (yep poor FI was raised with the Footloose-style Christians) but not having a full mass will cause a lot of friction with my family. My mom already threw out the “I want you to have a mass!” and I know people like my aunts/uncles/grandparents would be disappointed without one.
Obviously we can’t please everyone. How did some of you make your decisions about whether to have a full mass or not?
Post # 3
@k8: There are a lot of factors to consider. A full mass is going to be longer. The need for the priest to tell people if they aren’t Catholic they can’t come up for Eucharist can be alienating. And if you’re having it on a Saturday during the day, it doesn’t count for Sunday obligation anyway, so the Catholics are going to sit through two masses in a weekend.
Side note: I went to a Catholic Saturday wedding that was a reunion for my mission team. They all have kids, the oldest of whom still hadn’t made first communion. So they didn’t want to deal with the 10 kids at mass on Sunday and they were with a sitter on Saturday during the wedding. We went to the wedding, had communion, then during the break between the wedding & reception, we drove out and found another parish to go to Vigil mass! But then we got all confused about wether or not we could receive communion again. It was a mess. 😛 Save your guests the trouble and don’t have a full mass! Then there’s no question that they have to go on Sunday! You’re keeping people from being bad Catholics! 🙂
Post # 4
We decided to opt out of communion for our wedding. None of FI’s family is Catholic and either is my Mom’s side of the family. We also thought the idea of doing something that only I could participate in wasn’t something we wanted to do for our wedding.
Post # 5
There are good reasons in your situation for not having the full Mass (primarily, as PP pointed out, the fact that you would receive Communion but he wouldn’t, and it introduces division into a ceremony that is supposed to be about unity). It might help to explain (or have the priest explain) to your relatives that in the case of a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic, it is up to the couple but the Church actually recommends the wedding liturgy without Mass for that very reason.
Alternatively, if you do decide to have a Mass, there are ways to mitigate the alienation. You can have the priest invite everyone to come forward at Communion time and, while only Catholics are to receive the host, non-Catholics can receive a blessing. They can indicate this by crossing their arms over their chest instead of holding their hands out.
Post # 6
I agree with everyone else that a full mass may not be the best choice. When FI and I were deciding on a mass or not we chose not to have one because I am not catholic. We didn’t like the idea of him taking communion and not me. We are now having a mass because I have decided to convert and will be confirmed before the wedding so we can both take communion.
Ultimately you and your FI should do what you want. It’s your wedding and the families will understand. You can’t please everyone all the time, but it’s your wedding day, why should you do what everyone else wants?
Post # 7
Thanks a ton for the responses! This is really helpful. Also reminds me that I need to email my church in Chicago about getting precana classes going this summer since they said they’d transfer the paperwork to the church where we’ll be getting married in upstate NY.
So much to do! Setting the date with the priest was just the tip of the iceberg
Post # 8
@k8: I was born, schooled and raised strict Catholic. My sister had a full mass. My brother, who married a Methodist, had a Catholic wedding in the church and used pre-consecrated hosts so instead of the full mass, communion was offered to those who chose to partake but the service otherwise skipped the liturgy of the eucharist. My parents were fine with both.
Now as for me, I’m having an outdoors wedding not celebrated by a religious figure. My parents have not offered a negative opinion so I think after making it through a couple other weddings of their kids’, they’ve mellowed out.
Post # 9
As a non-catholic, I tend to feel very uncomfortable in full mass. DH’s family is catholic and I’m not interested in converting and I tend to feel left out when they go to take communion and I’m left sitting in my seat.
If it’s something you’re willing to give up I would for the consieration of your guests and especially FI’s family.
Post # 10
As a Christian non-Catholic, please don’t have a full mass. I HATE going to Catholic weddings and being told that my faith isn’t as good as your faith and I have to sit and watch the rest of you take communion just so you don’t have to go to mass tomorrow morning.
Post # 11
@k8: We had a Mass because we wanted the graces from the Mass. We also wanted our wedding to be God-centric rather than couple centric.
I don’t know why your parents’ are freaking out about not having a Mass. You’re still getting married according to the laws of the Church.
Post # 12
@almostmrsj: that’s not at all what the Catholic Church is saying. Catholics believe that Communion is Really and Truly the PHYSICAL Body of Christ – NOT just a symbol. If you don’t believe that (which I assume you don’t, since Catholics are basically the only denomination that belives it that literally), shouldn’t that disgust and practically horrify you? Why would you WANT to partake in that? It’s basically cannibalism if you think about it!
Secondly, by taking Communion you would be saying you are AGREEING with the Catholic Church’s beliefs on…. well, everything. That’s why it’s called “Communion.” (You’re “in communion.”) It has NOTHING to do with saying one faith is better than another – if you really want to take it so bad, then just become Catholic!
Thirdly, Catholics who go to a Saturday wedding Mass still are expected to to Mass on Sunday. It does NOT fulfill their Sunday obligation. I’m sorry that you are surrounded by such “lazy” Catholics who not only don’t know much about their faith since they think that is true, but have allowed you to think things like just because you “can’t” receive communion means “we think we’re better than you.”
It’s not about one faith being better… it’s just about respecting the beliefs of another faith! And the beliefs of the Catholic Church are that to take Communion you have to agree with what IT is, as well as the teachings of the Catholic Church!
Post # 13
@red_rose: I do respect the beliefs of the Catholic faith. I’ve been to plenty of mass(es?) with my Catholic ex and sat there smiling through lots of communion. I did not enjoy the looks I got from everyone else getting up and sitting back down, the judgy stares, whispers – seriously. I’ve read everything there in the pew that says I have to, basically, convert, to take communion and I respect that and won’t partake.
I do not know many Cathoics who go to mass Saturday evening and again on Sunday. I know one bride who specifically said she was having a full mass so everyone could party hard and not have to go to mass on Sunday. So I had to, again, sit there through it all with her family looking at me like “why you no Catholic?!”
I would much rather go to a wedding, then go to my own church where we also celebrate communion and welcome anyone who believes that Christ was God and died for our sins, that’s all.
Post # 15
I’m having a full Mass. Both my FI and I are Catholic though. It is important to us to receive Communion on our wedding day. Anyone who is not Catholic (approximately half of our guest list) will be invited up to get a blessing during Communion. Our Mass will be too early to count for the Sunday obligation (only Masses after a certain time on Saturday count). I know my FI and I will be at Mass the next day, as will most of our guests.
If my FI was not Catholic I would consider just having the Liturgy of the Word. I would discuss it with your priest and then see which way you are both leaning. I would not include family in this decision. It’s your wedding ceremony and you should be happy with whatever you choose.
Post # 16
I remember going to a wedding mass that the couple and the priest had been able to work down to 30 minutes. I still had 2 readings, communion, and all that. Would your priest maybe work with you guys on a simplified mass? That way it would have all the common elements for your family, but it would also be simple enough to respect your FI’s family?