Catholic Wedding Q&A
Can someone who is not Catholic receive communion at a Catholic wedding Mass?
Only Catholics should receive the Eucharist (with a few exceptions).
Another name for the Eucharist is "communion," because the act of receiving it both reflects and effects the spiritual union of the believer with Christ and all the other faithful. In other words, it's a statement of Catholic faith—a statement that people who do not share that faith probably do not want to make. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops eloquently explain this position in a statement they issued to be included in worship aids:
For our fellow Christians
We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer for us "that they may all be one" (Jn 17:21).
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of Canon law (Canon 844 § 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these Churches (Canon 844 § 3).
For those not receiving Holy Communion
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.
If you expect that a large number of your guests will not be able to receive communion, you may want to discuss with your pastor the possibility of having a Catholic wedding without the Mass.
For more information
Choosing the form of
your Catholic wedding
A guide to choosing the form of your wedding (with or without Mass).
I am attending a Catholic
wedding, but I am not Catholic. What can I expect?
A guide for your non-Catholic guests.