Following the vows there is The Reception of the Consent. This is a short prayer and admonition on the part of the priest accepting the vows which have been made in his presence, there are two options for them – the first is this: “May the Lord in his kindness strengthen the consent you have declared before the Church, and graciously bring to fulfillment his blessing within you. What God joins together, let no one put asunder.” You will notice that this reception asks God to bless the consent just made and a reminder that nothing should separate those who have been joined in such a holy sacrament.
The next part of the marriage ritual is The Blessing and Giving of Rings. The rings symbolize in a physical form the commitment that has been made and the prayer that accompanies the giving of the rings makes this clear. The prayer reads, “N., receive this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
This part of the marriage ritual is drawn to a completion with an acclamation. This could be something recited (the ritual offers, “Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.”) or it could be an acclamation that is said or sung. Normally here at St. Mary’s we will sing an Alleluia as a sign of rejoicing at the commitment which has just been made.
Following the marital commitment the wedding will continue. When it is a ceremony it will move to petitions, an Our Father and the Nuptial Blessing. When it is a Mass the petitions are followed by the celebration of the Eucharist. Most of this part of the wedding Mass will be the same as Mass always is, however, there are some prayers which can be added into the Eucharistic Prayer for the couple and following the Our Father the embolism is dropped and, instead, the Nuptial Blessing is prayed. There are three options for the Nuptial Blessing – it is a long blessing and quite beautiful. In our next article we’ll take a look at one of the Nuptial Blessings which helps to draw our consideration of the Sacrament of Marriage to its conclusion.
(This article is part of a series of articles on The Sacraments which will appear in the bulletin over the course of this year.)