Catholic Weddings

NWR but Catholic Church related

In the Christmas poll below, I mentioned that when I was a kid, I went to midnight mass that was held in a local barn/stable.  It was pretty huge, it boarded about half the horses in the area and gave riding lessons, etc.

It was a very rural parish but we did have a small church built by the congregation, small but pretty affluent as I remember.  People came from surrounding town to attend!  It was very beautiful as I said in PP.

Everyone sat on bales of hay, there was a real manger with animals although the blessed family were just statues.  The only difference I remember is that there were no candles during the mass.  That's an obvious, open flame & hay don't mix.

In the U.S., this is the only time I have seen mass other than a parent's weekend at Boston College that is always held outside on campus because of the crowds.

How/why are these exceptions made?

btw, after I posted last night, this was on my mind half the night!

Thanks to anyone with an answer!

Re: NWR but Catholic Church related

  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I remember reading that non-church locations can be blessed so that a Mass can be held there.  For example, when the Pope came to NY in 2008, he gave Mass at Yankee Stadium.  I think the local bishop is the person who determines if the cause to have a ceremony outside of a church is justified.  So, large barn to hold more people and create the correct ambiance for Christmas Mass is okay.  Lakeside wedding ceremony because bride wants nicer pictures not so okay.
  • edited December 2011
    That is a really good question oot.

    When I was going through RCIA, our priest said mass at someone's sponsors house right before we were all confirmed.
  • edited December 2011
    I've also seen an outside mass.  Last summer DH's family had a big family reunion.  One of his great uncles is a priest and said mass with the whole family in DH's grandparents' back yard. 

    I'm just speculating, but I believe it's easier to say a mass outside of church than to perform a Catholic marriage outside of church.  For a marriage there is a bunch of paperwork that needs to be completely correctly and according to the correct form.
  • edited December 2011
    I agree that it is a determination of the bishop who may give the proper dispensation. I have seen outdoor masses for a variety of reasons, usually because of crowd size or other genuine pastoral concerns (for example, I volunteer with a group that is allowed to do outdoor masses for outreach reasons). Pretty-ness is not a genuine pastoral concern.

    Actually, OOT, the thing that surprises me is that there weren't any candles at all. My understanding was that a mass required at least one attempt at a candle, although, given the fire danger you mentioned, maybe that concern was also dispensed by the local bishop.

    I also read somewhere some time ago that after Vatican II, the Church really relaxed the wedding rules to allow non-Church weddings. Then, as things do, they got out of control and people wanted priests to do weddings in all kinds of ridiculous places, and they quickly reverted to the much older must-be-in-a-Church rule.
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    A dispensation is not needed, nor a "blessed" place for a Mass. I've had a mass said at my house when I first moved there, to bless it. Masses need to be said in "a suitable place". (which basically means not a bathroom )

    In "The Spirit of the Liturgy"  by Cardinal ratzinger (now pope B). he explains in depth what the walls of the church building mean. It goes back to the temple... A wedding is a public act...and since weddings are not done during the normal Sunday masses, but tend to be private affairs only inviting friends and family of the couple, the church building itself stands for the Church community to witness the sacrament. The church community is a very important part as the couple is meant to image the trinity and Christ's love for His church, and the couple now builds a domestic church to take part in the church community.

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