MPLEMENTATION of the revised rite of marriage has been set. The text, now entitled the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, is mandatory for use beginning December 30, 2016, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The new texts may optionally be used beginning September 8, 2016.
So, what is actually new in this second edition? There are a number of revised elements, as well as a couple of new additions.
First, as noted above, the name of the ritual book has been changed from Rite of Marriage to Order of Celebrating Matrimony. Additionally, the opening notes (or Praenotanda) have been significantly expanded to further explain the theology of Holy Matrimony (now composed of 44 paragraphs, compared with the 18 in the first edition).
Following the entrance procession, the ritual now calls for an introduction to be given by the celebrant. Two sample addresses will appear in the ritual. Just over a year ago, I attended a workshop by Msgr. Richard Hilgartner, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship. During the workshop, he read to us one of these sample addresses, and it impressed me as a very beautiful and understandable précis on the theology of Holy Matrimony.
The new order makes it clearer that the Penitential Act is to be omitted and that the Gloria is always included at a nuptial Mass. This latter change originally came into force with the 2011 Roman Missal, but it is now being clarified.
The exchange of consent will incorporate two changes. First, there will be a new alternate form that calls upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, together with Adam and Eve. Additionally, immediately after the consent is given, a dialogue has been added between the priest & people. The celebrant will say, “Let us bless the Lord,” and the whole assembly will be invited to respond, “Thanks be to God.”
The special remembrance of the newly married couple that was already supplied for the Roman Canon has been matched by similar inclusions for Eucharistic Prayers II and III. There will also be two separate sets of recommended general intercessions included in the rite.
Finally, within each of the four nuptial blessings, there will now be an explicit epiclesis that says: “Send down on them the grace of the Holy Spirit and pour your love into their hearts, that they may remain faithful in the Marriage covenant.”
HIS NEW EDITION will also incorporate two new appendices and two new adaptations. The first new appendix is called an “Order of Blessing an Engaged Couple.” This might be used with benefit as part of parish Pre-Cana programs. The other new appendix will be called the “Order of Blessing a Married Couple within Mass on the Anniversary of Marriage.” Included herein will be sample formulae for the renewal of vows and the blessing of rings (either for the original rings or for new rings).
The two new adaptations will be in addition to the one adaptation already approved in the present ritual (the optional phrasing for the exchange of consent that mentions “for richer or poorer,” etc.). The new adaptations will be for the blessing and giving of the arras (coins) and the blessing and placing of the lazo (veil), both traditions that are popular among couples of Mexican, Filipino, and Spanish descent.
For more information on the significance of the arras and lazo traditions, I highly recommend a very informative article by Michael P. Foley published in Antiphon, journal of the Society for Catholic Liturgy. His article appears in Vol. 18 (2014), no. 2, pp. 115-143, coincidentally two articles before my own article on the Propriety of the Propers.
Apart from the rubric concerning the singing of the Gloria, which has been in force for some time now, these new changes do not seem to affect much regarding the music at nuptial Masses and ceremonies. The changes are, however, significant. It remains to be seen what the published versions of this second edition will look like.