For centuries, the Catholics have strictly followed their rules and rituals in their code of conduct. However, with time and life dynamics, the church has slowly eased its standing to allow interaction with other religions. Doing so has enabled the church to include different members who wish to participate in the church’s ceremonies. One main advantage of this gesture is that a Catholic wedding can consist of friends and family, whether they are Non-Catholic Christians or Non-Christians. In having other members in the ceremony, the main concern is whether one can invite Non-Catholics to be readers at their wedding.
So, do readers at a Catholic wedding have to be Catholic? The church strongly urges the brides and the grooms to find a reader who understands the Catholic faith, guidelines, and principles surrounding the ceremony’s matrimonial aspect. However, no specific rules are requiring the reader to be a Catholic. Hence, the reader can be a Catholic, a Non-Catholic Christian, or anyone of a different religious affiliation. Given that other churches have different principles; it would still be best to consult with your parish priest on the best way to go.
We wish to determine what the readings at a Catholic wedding entail and their necessity at the ceremony. We also investigated who can do a reading at the wedding and the criteria the couple can use when selecting the readers. Does the elected lector have to be Catholic? When can the couple decide to choose a Non-Catholic reader? Read on as we dig deeper to answer these burning questions.
A Catholic wedding reading originates from the rite of marriage, which the church uses during a marriage. Traditionally, a wedding reading should be done by an individual who believes in the Catholic faith and traditions. Since it is a sacramental ceremony, they believe that the reader should be guided by the Holy Spirit to read a relevant passage to the occasion.
One of the most common books the readers extract the reading from is the Book of Genesis. This book is more relevant because not only is it the first book of the bible, but it is also the home of the creation story. It also teaches on the union of man and woman and the notion of procreation.
Since the church is a firm believer in family and the raising of children according to the laws of Christ, this book is the best citation. If you are a reader at the ceremony, you will never go wrong when citing Genesis.
Another favorite among readers is Psalms’ book, which reminds the couples to praise the Lord at all times for His mercies and diligently follow His commandments.
Reading this will encourage the partners to involve God in their daily married life and to obey His laws as long as they live. The key is to select a verse or chapter that is relevant to the occasion. The reading should not only encourage but should also draw the couple closer to God.
The Essence of a Reader at a Catholic Wedding
There are numerous readings, including poems, passages, and religious texts that a reader can cite at a wedding. These readings may be chosen by the engaged couple or by the reader under the bride and groom’s advice.
First, Catholics believe that Christ can speak to the couple; therefore, they choose the perfect excerpt carefully. It is crucial to select a relevant passage since these words should add meaning to the couple’s married life. Similarly, the Catholics believe reading at the wedding proclaims the church’s view on marriage and God’s word on the essence of marriage.
Wedding readers (lectors) play a vital role in every wedding ceremony, just like any other active participants. By selecting a lector, the bride and the bridegroom can involve a special friend or relative to make them feel included. It could be a parent, sibling, relative, or family friend. If the reader puts up a stellar performance, it may show the attendees how well-prepared the couple was for the ceremony.
A good lector will also give the newlyweds confidence that their carefully chosen readings will be read eloquently and audibly by the lector. If the reader is a Christian, the couple may gift him/her the bible as a souvenir as a thankful gesture.
This act creates a lasting connection between the married individuals and the reader; hence, the selected lector should be close to the bride and the groom. Generally, a reader at the wedding binds the guests and the wedding parties through a heartfelt dedication that the audience will live to remember.
Who Can Do a Reading at a Catholic Wedding?
Catholic weddings are sacramental ceremonies that conform to the liturgy of the rite of marriage. A typical union is just like any other Catholic mass hence includes; the components of an ordinary church service mass such as readings, singing of hymns and taking of the Holy Communion.
If a Catholic is marrying a fellow Catholic, the wedding is part of the mass, including all aspects of a regular church service. However, if it is between a Catholic and a Non-Catholic/ unbaptized individual (ecumenical wedding), then the ceremony is outside mass. Therefore, the marrying parties’ faith may influence who can read the scripture in their marriage.
In a purely Catholic marriage, it is a requirement that the reader has to be a Catholic who understands the church’s traditions and rules. The Catholic Church has trained lectors who read scriptures at weddings. Similarly, the wedding officiants/ celebrants (the parish Priest or the diocese bishop) can also do a memorable reading at your wedding.
With adequate preparation and the Priest or the Bishop’s permission, you can have a family member, a relative, witnesses, or a friend to read at your wedding. The person you choose does not have to be Catholic. However, it would be more comfortable to pick a Christian individual or anyone else who is comfortable with reading another religion’s holy book. You need to consult with the person you choose to avoid any inconveniences on the big day.
How To Choose a Reader
The ceremony’s readings are essential; hence, there are several factors to consider while choosing a reader at your wedding. First, the church advises that a reader is of Christian faith since the words in the readings are sacred and are vital to bless the newlyweds with God’s grace in their life as a couple.
In case you cannot find a suitable reader within your friends and family, the church can still provide a competent lector to do the reading.
The lector chosen should be of your preference, whether a Catholic or not. You can also decide to have the three readings done by Non-Catholic Christians or people of a different religious affiliation. As a couple, the church gives you the liberty to select any member in attendance to do the reading, as long as they are comfortable with it.
The Catholic Church emphasizes issues concerning marriage, for they are sacramental, unlike other ceremonies. For this, the church requires that all unions strictly adhere to the laid down procedures. However, with time, the church has relaxed some of its laws, especially concerning its believers and others in different denominations.
Therefore, the church has allowed intermarriages and the participation of Non-Catholics in its ceremonies. For instance, the church accepts Non-Catholics to be readers and form part of the wedding procession. This step has eliminated any inconveniences to the believers. Hence, the church allows Non-Catholics to engage in the ceremonies as long as they conduct themselves to adhere to all the church’s canons.