For many couples, choosing the Scripture readings turns out to be one of the highlights of planning their Catholic wedding.
- The first reading, taken from the Old Testament
- The responsorial psalm, taken from the Book of Psalms
- The second reading, taken from the New Testament
- The Gospel reading, taken from one of the four Gospels – usually chosen by the priest
Catholic weddings usually include three readings plus the responsorial psalm. Each of the readings was chosen for the insight it offers into Christian marriage, even if it does not speak about marriage directly.
What is God saying to you in the readings?
Most Catholics know that Christ is active and present in the Eucharist. But Catholic tradition also holds that God is present in the Scriptures. As James M. Schellman beautifully puts it, “the Lord is active and present to the assembly” through the proclamation of the Scripture readings. God “longs to speak and be heard in the biblical word.”
God longs to speak to you and your fiancé, too, through the readings you choose for your wedding. What does this imply for how you go about choosing the Scriptures that will be proclaimed at your wedding? Here are a few suggestions:
Don’t rush it. Spend some time with the readings—even a few weeks—before deciding which ones to choose. You might even keep a copy of the readings by your bed so that you can review them before going to sleep each night.
Pray with the readings. Remember that God is speaking to you through these writings; take some time to quietly reflect on their meaning for your lives, and in particular, for your marriage. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak in your hearts as you reflect on the readings.
Review the readings together. You and your fiancé may not agree at first on which readings to choose, but take that as an opportunity to discuss what the different readings mean to each of you. What do your preferences reveal about your spirituality, values, and attitudes toward marriage?
Don’t dismiss the “hard” readings too easily. Some of the readings may rub you the wrong way; others may seem to have little connection to marriage. Stick with them for a while, though, before moving on to the “popular” wedding readings.
Who Will Proclaim The Readings?
The priest or deacon who witnesses your marriage will proclaim the Gospel reading. The responsorial psalm is usually led by a cantor (song leader), or simply recited by a reader if a cantor is unavailable. That leaves you to find readers (also called lectors) for the first and second readings.
Readers perform a sacred ministry—proclaiming the Word of God—and should be well prepared for their role.
The Rite of Marriage provides between seven and ten different options for each of the Scripture readings and the responsorial psalm. Each of the readings was chosen for the insight it offers into Christian marriage, even if it does not speak about marriage directly.
Readings are presented in pairings. These are suggestions only. Any other suitable pairing may be used, and readings should be chosen with care, having regard to the pastoral needs of the occasion and in consultation with the priest / deacon.
You can view / download the selection of readings here: Readings for Weddings
Prayer of the Faithful
We can help with some sample Prayer of the Faithful that can be used at your wedding celebration. These options ought to be discussed with your priest.
You can view / download the selection of the Prayer of the Faithful here:
Rings in Bible: https://blog.prodigalpaul.com/2010/10/18/the-best-wedding-scripture-reading-ever-marriage-blessings-andrew-laura/
Light Shining on Bible: http://mtysnaed.org/bible-with-shining-light/