CD 274: Priests in choir at wedding

There seems to be competition among under 30s Catholics to have as many priests as possible at their wedding. I’d love to invite half a dozen priest friends but would prefer them to attend in choir. I am worried in case they might be offended.

I think that you know that this should not be a matter of competition so I won’t harp on about that except to emphasise that your first concern should be the dignified and reverent celebration of your wedding, and your spiritual preparation with your fiancée in order to lay a solid foundation for your married life.

On behalf of my brother priests, I would make a heartfelt plea to you to give them a way out if it is difficult for them to attend. Priests who run parishes may have a heavy schedule and it is not always easy to find supply priests to cover for them. For many priests it is a rare luxury to attend an event for personal reasons on a Saturday. Make sure that you don’t take offence if they have to decline your invitation.

Cardinals Cañizares and Burke have both independently raised questions about the routine practice of concelebration in the Roman rite so your own reluctance has some support. I find personally that if I have already had to say a parish Mass, the option of attending in choir is welcome: the priest can participate in a different and, perhaps more personally reflective way. Having said that, many priests are not familiar with the option of attending in choir. Some may not have a cassock and cotta (though many younger priests will.) It is not so much that priests will be offended; they may simply not be familiar with this way for a priest to participate at Mass.

Since these are priests well-known to you, the best approach is to talk to them personally and explain what you are proposing. You could print off from the internet an article about the meaning of a priest assisting at Mass in choir, and emphasising that this is a way of participating in the Liturgy as a priest.

Catholic Dilemmas column published in the Catholic Herald
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