Prayer of the faithful (general intercessions or Universal Prayer) at a Catholic wedding
The prayer of the faithful, also known as the general intercessions or the Universal Prayer, follow immediately after the blessing and exchange of rings. The presider or a lector reads each prayer ("For...; we pray to the Lord...") and the assembly responds ("Lord, hear our prayer."). The general intercessions used during the Sunday Mass are usually written by someone at the parish. Most parishes, however, will allow (and even encourage) couples to write the intercessions for their wedding. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (#70), the series of intentions is to be:
- for the needs of the Church;
- for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;
- for those burdened by any kind of difficulty;
- and for the local community.
However, the General Instruction also provides for the intentions to "reflect more closely the particular occasion" during the Rite of Marriage.
You can include a prayer for yourselves, for instance, as well as for deceased relatives and other important people in your life. However, these prayers are also the prayer of the whole Church, and as such, they should also reflect some broader concerns. It would be appropriate, for instance, to pray for all married couples; for families; for the sick and the lonely; for Church and world leaders; and for peace and justice. Your parish can assist you in composing appropriate prayers.