Processional music for an EF wedding in Lent
  • The basic question is whether a simple instrumental processional without singing is permissible or desirable for an EF wedding in Lent. Rescheduling for a day outside of Lent is not possible -- the wedding was actually re-scheduled into Lent to accommodate a serious medical situation in the extended family; the pastor's approval was first sought and obtained; etc.

    Here's how I'm thinking of it:

    1) The wedding rite is not part of mass

    2) The procession is not technically a part of the wedding rite (I'm looking at the original edition of Fortescue on Google Books and also at the Rituale on and neither one even mentions a procession, perhaps because a wedding procession doesn't include the priest and ministers?)

    3) It's difficult to look to general tradition here because weddings in Lent are so rare

    4) A silent procession or one involving singing would just be weird

    5) The wedding itself will be followed by the moderately festive 2nd class votive mass pro sponsis -- with white vestments and Gloria

    So I'm thinking that a restrained instrumental processional (e.g., a solo cello) would be perfectly legal and would also strike a good balance between standard American wedding custom and the fact that it is still Lent. Am I thinking rightly about this? Are there any actual norms for a situation like this?
  • You could always ask for a dispensation.
  • Well, sure, and that would certainly solve the problem at hand, but I'm also interested in the general principles. For example:

    - Are there any standard cases apart from Laetare Sunday in which the general rule about musical instruments in Lent is normally set aside? I would intuitively say, for example, that the mass of the Annunciation should be fully festive, but is that the general tradition? And if it is, would a 2nd-class votive enjoy the same privilege?

    - For that matter, where is this general rule to be found? Fortescue takes it for granted but I can't find any mention of musical instruments at all in the 1960 rubrics that are easily accessible online

    - And in any case, is a wedding procession governed by any rubrics whatsoever in the EF?
  • In case anyone's interested who didn't already know this, I found the rule about musical in the 1958 instruction De musica sacra et sacra liturgia. No. 83 lists exceptions to the general prohibition in Lent and all of them seem to be for particularly solemn liturgical events on days of the 1st class. So the votive mass pro sponsis wouldn't really fit.

    That said it still seems to me that the wedding procession is not part of the liturgy properly speaking.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,072
    Ben, I was just going to reply and tell you the Gloria would still be omitted. Unless it's a 1st Class in the EF or a solemnity in the OF, that would be the case. Somewhat along the same lines, there's not a tract for a nuptial Mass, so you'd be in trouble there. Basically, I think you're looking at 1) a marriage, 2) followed by the ferial Mass.
  • Thanks Bruce -- Now I'm a little confused! I've been looking at the 1960 rubrics which are partially included (in English) in my Liber Usualis (Desclee 1962), and available in full at various places online, including this scanned copy of a 1960 Australian edition with commentary.

    As far as I can tell these rubrics say that a 2nd-class votive can be said on any 2nd-class day (#341). Since March 15 this year is Ember Saturday, a 2nd-class feria, wouldn't the mass pro sponsis be just fine? Although I do think Ember Saturday would be commemorated (#108 and #111c), and the commentary in the edition linked-to above seems to concur (see page 183).

    Also as far as I can see the Gloria is normally said in a 2nd-class votive unless violet vestments are used (#343a), but the vestments proper to this particular votive mass are white (#121d).

    And, oddly enough, my copy of the Liber does have a Tract for the mass pro sponsis: It's Ecce sic benedicetur on page 1290.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Ben, if you decide on an instrumental procession, could you tell me what you have chosen?
    I am also to be involved in a Lenten wedding, although OF,

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Christina
    Posts: 2
    Ben and G, did you end up resolving the issue of the instrumental procession? My fiance and I will be married on the day before Laetare Sunday, and we were wondering if an instrumental procession would be appropriate. The Mass itself is OF and, in terms of music, will consist mainly of polyphony.
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Do a Gregorian or polyphonic processional!! :)
    Thanked by 1Ben
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Dies Irae. ;-)
    Thanked by 1Ben
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
  • BenBen
    Posts: 3,114
    That said it still seems to me that the wedding procession is not part of the liturgy properly speaking.

    While factually true, this isn't really following the spirit off the law, if you ask me. I would not reccomend it. I would find something else, such as a polyphonic piece, if you have the resources, or if not, some chant, even something like attende Domine. Yes, it's a wedding, but it is still first and foremost a public liturgy of the church, so I wouldn't streach the rules like that simply because it's a wedding.

    That being said, politics what it is, sometimes you have to do less than desirable things, but I'm speaking of ideal situations here.
  • In G's case, there might be some wiggle room here. A wedding Mass in Lent (as long as it is not a Sunday) would be a ritual Mass, complete with a Gloria. It would be odd, at least in my opinion, to permit the Gloria but not instrumental music.
  • BenBen
    Posts: 3,114
    Interesting look at it, Andy.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Ben, please tell me you had just awakened when the notion of chanting "Attende Domine" as a WEDDIING PROCESSIONAL! occured. I mean, "Parce, Domine!" O Lord, we beseech Thee and have mercy upon these two poor souls about to conjoin and sanctify their bond with the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ....
    Uh, "Ubi Caritas.....Laetare....Oculi....Qui habitat" as alius canti might be a twee more hopeful.
    Thanked by 2Gavin irishtenor
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Technically speaking, the proper ritual is that the Clergy and Groom meet the bride at the door of the church and the bride and groom enter behind the celebrant and enter as part of one procession. This is because in a Nuptial Mass the Bride and Groom are ministers of the sacrament to each other. However, I'm yet to attend a wedding where this has been the case.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,164
    It happened at my wedding.