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Weddings

March 4, 2009

All my priestly life I have said (like our new President) “Yes we can” when asked to marry a couple. There is nothing more off-putting to a young couple in love than to be confronted with a representative of the Church who seems unwelcoming to their wish to marry and spends most of his time making restrictive conditions. I have heard horror stories of priests who refuse permission for photographs, will allow  only a few “suitable” hymns, forbid extra readings etc etc. Of course I understand the pressure some English priests are under, who may have three weddings every Saturday and for whom it all becomes a routine, but I always have tried to remind myself that this is the crowning moment in each couple’s life, and not to be treated lightly. Of course, weddings are pretty rare events at St Clement’s, so three per Saturday is not (yet) a problem!

I married Juliet & Gavin in a lovely fall wedding, with the reception in S. Clement's garden

I married Juliet & Gavin in a lovely autumnl wedding, with the reception in S. Clement's garden

However, I’m happy to report that St Clement’s is going to be the place where five young couples so far this year have decided to marry. This more than the total of the last three years, and we are only in March. What has made the difference is that four of the five couples decided on St Clement’s because of what they had seen on our web site. They are living proof that young people often love traditional Liturgy. They also said that the pictures of receptions and coffee hours showed a smiling, friendly congregation where they felt they would be at home. (Of  course we don’t put up photos of the grumpy looking ones!)

I have never been very interested in running “marriage preparation” classes, the latest obstacle invented by a declining Church. But I have always wanted to get ot know the couple I was marrying and to talk with them about everything and anything. So I have had them to meals, and this Sunday evening I will have a dinner party for three of the five couples.

I reckon that they will help each other with the preparation for matrimony more than I will. I’ll just tell them, as I do in every wedding homily, that they are following a God-given instinct to be more like him – namely, Persons living in total self-giving love, a love so strong that the Greek Fathers of the Church even called it “interpenetrating love”. That should perk them up!

I doubt if St Clement’s is about to turn into the Little Chapel in the Heather, which I saw in Las Vegas, but I hope the word gets around that Weddings Are Us (and Confessions and Baptisms and Confirmations and all the other Sacraments).

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. ambly permalink
    March 9, 2009 5:12 pm

    That might well be “Sacraments R Us” – why not indeed!

  2. Joe Bedell permalink
    March 18, 2009 12:45 am

    Dear Fr. Reid,

    My daughter was married on the beach in Fl this past 12/31 – I sent your marvelous blog to her and my new son-in-law. Thank You!

    I already feel as though I am a member of the parish, this blog will keep me ever closer – keep up the good work!

    respectfully,
    Joe Bedell

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