The Prayers of the Faithful is part of a Catholic Mass wherein parishioners pray for the needs of the Church, the local parish and each member of the congregation. Also known as general intercessions, these prayers are broad requests for the entire community, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB. Concise and serious, they can encompass all of the hopes and wishes felt for a couple on their wedding day.
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The USCCB states that typical petitions include prayers for the Church, for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world. There should also be a prayer for anyone feeling burdened and for the local community. It is appropriate for celebrations like marriages to include prayers that "reflect more closely the particular occasion."
While the Prayers of the Faithful read during Sunday Mass are typically written by someone employed with the parish, the couple who will be getting married is encouraged to write the petitions for their ceremony. The priest can review and revise them before they are finalised, or can actively participate in the drafting of the prayers with the couple. Using the name of the couple and their family members will personalise the prayers.
In a Catholic ceremony, the Prayers of the Faithful are located right after the blessing and exchange of the rings. The celebrant says a brief introduction to invite the congregation to pray. The reader, who can be a deacon, cantor, friend or family member, will then state each petition followed by "we pray to the Lord." The congregation will reply "Lord hear our prayer" or another appropriate response. Following the final petition the celebrant will end with a prayer before moving onto the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
A Catholic wedding in July 2009 used these petitions for the Prayer of the Faithful: For the couple on this, their wedding day, that the Lord may be present in their marriage and give them many happy years of life together. For their parents, that the gracious Lord will reward them generously for the years of love and care they've shown the couple. For family members who have gone before us, that the God of goodness give them a share in the joy of this wedding. For our country and especially for those who are defending us, that God the Almighty protect us all and keep us in His peace. For all of those who could not be with us today, but are present in spirit, that the God of Heaven and Earth bless them wherever they are. For all here today to show their love for this couple, that Lord God remains with us and bring us home safely.
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- "Celebrating the Mass; A Guide for Understanding and Loving the Mass More Deeply"; Alfred McBride, O.Praem.; 1999
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Structure of the Mass, Its Elements and Its Parts; The Liturgy of the Word, The Prayer of the Faithful
- Catholic Wedding Help; Prayer of the Faithful, General Intercessions or Bidding Prayers at a Catholic Wedding
- Wedding Mass Video; Christine and Eric Morton; July 25, 2009