Readings for Ceremony

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KCI Posts : 150 Registered: 3/30/09
Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 5:10 PM

Hi everyone. My cousin is getting married in August and has asked me to help look for readings for her ceremony. She is having a catholic ceremony in a church, but as the officiant is our great-uncle who is a friar, the readings don't necessarily have to be from the bible. Unfortunately my cousin doesn't really know what she's looking for. The only two guidelines she has come up with so far are:
1) nothing too long (no one wants a 2 hour ceremony)
2) nothing extremely common or "over-used" (i.e. "love is patient, love is kind...)

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to get my cousin to figure out better what she wants to make the search easier.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 6:40 PM Go to message in response to: KCI

Dear KCH,

If they are following a Catholic liturgy, there are suggested readings right there in the liturgy. I am not Catholic, but I know something about their requirements.

The readings must be Bibical passages and follow the liturgy (OT, Psalm, NT, Gospel) and be approved by the officiant. I suggest your cousin talk to the officiant and ask for suggestions.

She's not going to be reading Shakespeare or Robert Frost.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 6:55 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

The officiant is her great uncle, so she isn't confined to the catholic whatever the word is, aotb.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 7:25 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Dear Cyndi,

"The officiant is her great uncle, so she isn't confined to the catholic whatever the word is, aotb.:

Liturgy.

If the great-uncle is a Catholic clergy member (ie a friar), then he is obliged to follow the Catholic liturgy. He cannot officiate at a wedding that deviates from the Catholic liturgy. The bride and groom can get married wherever they want, but if they get married by Catholic clergy they will have to follow Catholic liturgy.

It is the same in the Episcopal Church. Clergy members are required to use the church liturgy in a wedding ceremony. This I know for a fact. I am 99% sure the Catholic Church has similar requirements of its clergy.

Don't want that liturgy? Go get married somewhere else.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 7:32 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Then cousin had better go back and clarify this, because in the post that's what OP's belief is, based on what cousin said, due to great uncle officiating.

I will never understand this, guess that's one huge reason we don't do church. I find it bizarre that you cannot have some sort of non religious poem(or even a religious one) or whatever read. In what way is that harming the church?? But then, rules like that just have never made sense to me, and seem to exist solely for the purpose of having a rule, any rule, with zero rationality behind it. Other than, cause we said so. Of course, they are the group that won't allow priests to marry and, I think, won't allow women to be priests either. In that case, OP, got nothing for you and will leave the advice to those who do church. edited to add: Seriously?? They even dictate which books of the bible it must be from? wow.


Proud Member of P.O.O.P., People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 9:22 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Dear Cyndi,

My personal feeling is that the OP's cousin is misinformed, and is assuming she can have any kind of reading she wants. She should meet with the officiant and find out exactly what is required and what is not allowed. Then, she can make an informed decision. Asking her cousin to go to an internet website, instead of just having a chat with her uncle, is strange. Uncle is the officiant, he knows the rules, he knows the set of choices available.

As for following a liturgy or not following a liturgy, hey, kiddo, that's what we do. I've been Episcopalian all my life. It is unthinkable to me to go to an Episcopal service in an Episcopal Church and NOT follow the liturgy. I've gone my whole life hearing "Lift up your hearts". It's meaningful to me. It's part of the continunity of being Episcopalian. I have been to Episcopal Churches all over the country and all over the world (France, Singapore, New Zealand, Germany, etc) and heard the exact same liturgy I hear at home. It's a wonderful feeling. It suits me.

Obviously it's not meaningful to you, and no one says you have to do it. I don't have a problem with that at all. I've attended many non-religious weddings and felt perfectly comfortable.

There are plenty of non-liturgical churches out there, because there are plenty of people who are religious but don't feel comfortable following a liturgy. More power to 'em. Go for it.

" Of course, they are the group that won't allow priests to marry and, I think, won't allow women to be priests either. In that case, "

The Episcopal Church has plenty of married priests, and plenty of women priests. The rector of my church is a married woman, and the rector of the church I visited in Maryland was a woman. I recently witnessed the consecration of two new bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles. One is a married woman, the other a partnered lesbian. I personally know a few unmarried priests, but most of the priests I know are married.

"Seriously?? They even dictate which books of the bible it must be from? wow. "

Um, yeah, when it's time for a Gospel reading you pick something from the Gospels. Why would you read from Psalms at the point where the Gospel is read? Kind of like going to court. There's a time for the plantiff to speak. There's a time for the defendant to speak. It's all laid out in a logical order so the judge, the court officials, the lawyers and the clients know what to expect. Same thing with a church liturgy.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 10:11 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Actually, she's catholic, as far as I know, they don't allow priests to marry and do not allow women to be priests.

As far as the liturgy goes, my comment was more, in all the old testament, they only (apparently) allow psalms, and, in the new testament, the gospels, of which there are, I believe four. What about hte rest of the bible? WHy is that off limits?

I'm glad it suits you, but no, I would hate it so yes, we don't go. And, I got the feeling based on what the op said, that they HAD talked with great uncle and DID believe she was not confined to readings from ONLY psalms or the gospels. THis isn't a church service, it's a wedding. To me, should be a happy occasion. And, to me, even IF it must be religious, ought to be able to pull from any book of the bible. THey all should be "equally" holy. Religion suits my mom too, but she is FAR from ridig and rules based. I am certain she also reads all the bible books and believes each equally worthy. I just had never heard of a church that uses only psalms and only matthew, mark, luke or john and apparently, even then only in a certain, prespecified order cause "that's the way it is".

Court has rules, and procedure, sure, but ALL the time we push the boundaries and argue to CHANGE the law. Further, where warranted, the procedures are not so rigid as you wrote. The ONLY place they are, is in the appellate system and even there, you can ask for (and where warranted are granted) permission NOT to follow them strictly. Happens all the time. Plus, you prearrange the rules and argue that pretrial. Then you know what the procedure will be, but that changes judge to judge and case to case and even type of case to type of case. It is not at all the case where you get the same set of rules in each case forever. Law is living, and it adapts and changes. Maybe not as fast as I'd like, but it does and what I do is argue FOR those changes.

It appears that never happens in the religious world, or at least catholic and episcopal. I have no idea about others. I only know what I experienced as a child, and I can assure you it gave me no happiness at all. NIghtmares, but not happiness and is never ever to be repeated.

Again, for those who want to follow those rules, great. They just make no sense to me and honestly, I did not believe the OP and her cousin were under the impression (after talking with their great uncle) that they had to have such a rigid ceremony. Who knows, she hasn't come back yet. However, based on her original question, she was looking for reading suggestions and stated that they were not bound by the traditional catholic requirements. In light of that, I don't think she was looking for a lecture on the pros or cons of catholic and/or episcopal "liturgical" requirements or mandates. I agree she should double check, but her OP clearly stated cousin did not have to use scripture and she wanted alternatives.

OP, I found a great book on ceremonies, and in that were many readings. I found it on amazon, doing just a general search. I don't remember the title, and gave it to someone else, but I bet you could find a bunch of stuff there. As well with a google search.


AS far as the rest of the debate...ahhhhck. makes my head hurt.


Proud Member of P.O.O.P., People Offended by Offended People

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 9, 2010 11:45 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Dear Cyndi,

Preface: I am not writing to convert you, but instead writing to explain. I am not in the conversion business, but don't mind explaining to intelligent adults who know their own mind and have their own opinion.

"As far as the liturgy goes, my comment was more, in all the old testament, they only (apparently) allow psalms, and, in the new testament, the gospels, of which there are, I believe four. What about hte rest of the bible? WHy is that off limits?"

Ah ha, I see the problem.

During the Episcopal (Anglican) liturgy, there are four places for Bible readings.

1. Old Testament (anything from the OT)
2. Psalms (anything from the Psalms)
3. New Testament (anything from the NT except the Gospels)
4. Gospel (guess: Gospels and yes there are four)

In other words, if you have a burning need for Verse XYZ from any part of the Bible, you're pretty much covered. We don't have all four every time, but in the liturgy there places for those four lessons.

To further explain, during the regular year there are certain readings at certain times. The priest in charge may substitute, should there be a good reason for the substitution, but on a given "normal" Sunday you will find most Catholic Churches, most Episcopal Churches, most Methodist Churches and most Lutheran Churches reading the exact same Bible passages at 1,2,3,4 above. We (with some exceptions) follow what is called the Revised Common Lectionary, which is a three-year cycle of defined Bible readings. Generally speaking, on a given Sunday the lessons all complement each other. They might have a similar theme.

Similarly, at a wedding there are various suggested passages from the OT, Ps, NT and Gospels, but the couple is free to suggest others and discuss that with the officiant.

Again, should there be a good reason, the priest can substitute or omit. The priest is ultimately in charge of what happens during the wedding ceremony.

"Further, where warranted, the procedures are not so rigid as you wrote. "

Our liturgy is not all that rigid. There are lots of optional parts that can be included or not depending on the couple's situation. For example, one of many is the inclusion or omission of a prayer to bless the marriage with children. Couple A might very much want that in; Couple B might not want it in and Couple C might not care that much.

There are other examples.

If a couple wants to get married in the Episcopal Church (and I believe similarly the Catholic Church AFAIK), they have to follow the basic liturgy with the options available in the liturgy.

" THis isn't a church service, it's a wedding."

Actually, in our church a wedding IS a worship service. That's why if the ceremony takes place in the church, anyone can attend. All worship services are open to anyone; no bouncers at the door. The reception can be a private party, but the ceremony is open to anyone. Homeless person off the street? Sure, they can come in and witness the wedding.

"Religion suits my mom too, but she is FAR from ridig and rules based"

There are many non-liturgical churches. Lots of people find happiness, joy and comfort there. Great.

". I only know what I experienced as a child, and I can assure you it gave me no happiness at all. NIghtmares, but not happiness and is never ever to be repeated. "

Thus, it's obviously not for you. I have no problem with that, although I do apologize on behalf of church-goers that your experience was so negative.

Back to the OP's question. Cousin needs to meet with the offiicant and clarify what to expect. Then, Cousin can start thinking in terms of her options and make an informed decision.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 10, 2010 2:10 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Dear AOTB,

Thanks that makes much more sense now. I honestly do not know much about other religions than the one I was raised in and we had to learn all the books. But, what you wrote makes much more sense to me now.

In our church, it was fear based and honestly turned me off to all of it. But, I understand many people find it comforting and only was confused based on what you picked up on. I don't begrudge people who choose to worship, I just don't choose to do so and instead, let how we live be our 'religion' if you will. Too much happened that would result in my never finding comfort in that. I know many people who do, my mom included, and my step mom, and that's completely fine for them. That's honestly partly why we didn't just run off and have a wedding they couldn't attend, and did have it in a chapel with a semi/sort of kinda tone that they could live iwth as religious enough. But it also met our needs.

Yes, OP needs to talk to her uncle for clarification. If it is as you explained, then she is in for a big disappointment if they plan to use non liturgical readings. I assumed open communication because that's what we do. I realize, however, not all people communicate directly.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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KCI Posts : 150 Registered: 3/30/09
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 10, 2010 9:06 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

AOTB - thanks for pointing out that even though he's our uncle, he still has to follow the rules. I am not married yet, so I have been listening to what my cousin said since I didn't know any better myseld.

I think my cousin is under the impression since he's a relative she can do what she wants, so it is good to find out now she is misinformed, rather than after we found something she liked and not be able to use it. She had made it sound like she talked to him already, but since she's considering non-religious readings, clearly she must not have actually talked to our uncle.

Thank you very much for clarifying!!! Now I have even more of a quideline to go by when helping her find readings. I'll make sure to let my cousin know.

Thanks again!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 10, 2010 9:54 AM Go to message in response to: KCI

Dear KCH,

That's understandable. There are a lot of people who attend various non-religious weddings where the couple has written their own vows and chosen readings from secular sources. They naturally assume that will be OK in their Catholic ceremony.

Your cousin might also run up against a requirement that all music in the ceremony be sacred music. In our church, for example, we don't allow secular music in the ceremony. You can't walk down the aisle to Elvis Presley, for example. You might want to mention that to your cousin, as well.

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KCI Posts : 150 Registered: 3/30/09
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 10, 2010 10:11 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

AOTB - thank you so much. She definitely must not have talked to our uncle. I'll have to pass along the news about the readings and music. She had already picked a song to walk in to and it's definitely not a religious song.

Thanks again. I guess I'm on hold for helping research readings (and now a new entrance song) until she talks to our uncle and figures out exactly what she's allowed to use.


Daisypath Anniversary tickers

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Readings for Ceremony
Posted: Jun 10, 2010 5:43 PM Go to message in response to: KCI

If she really wants to do things that don't occur in catholic ceremonies, is she dead set on a catholic ceremony then? I mean, she could still have a church ceremony, in a different church, and then incorporate all the stuff she wants.


 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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Re: Readings for Ceremony
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