Last night I helped to officiate at my first liturgical wedding. My cousin Justin was married – the girl he married is Catholic, & wanted to get married in the church she grew up in… her CCD teacher (Deacon Bob) & I were chosen by to be the officiants, with both of us representing the ‘faith traditions’ that the blissful couple had grown up with.
About a month ago, Deacon Bob & I got together to work through the ceremony, & also for a crash course for me – so I could know what elements of the ceremony were a part of the requirement of having it in the Catholic church. Also, we needed to work through the ‘who does what part?” It fell to Deacon Bob to determine that, as there were parts that he had to do in order for the ceremony to be authorized.
We met over coffee… really good coffee… & absolutely hit it off; turns out Deacon Bob is the father of Whitey, my brother Moe’s long time friend… Plus, he had a great sense of humor, was really, really sensitive to not being offensive to me in walking me through the process; which was funny in its own right, as this is one area that I have no hyper-sensitivity to – & just wanted to make it through the ceremony. :)
It was very enjoyable – & was really glad to be able to have gone to The Abbey with TheMoses & Brother in March – a lot of what I experienced there served as great background for my plunge into the world of liturgical wedding ceremonies.
Stuff that stood out to me:
The vows, rings, pronouncement of the couple, & the homily had to be done by Deacon Bob, as he is authorized & recognized by the Church. Homily is a fancy word for the Speech.
I could do just about anything else – & did. I even was given an opportunity for Reflection – which Deacon Bob explained is a lot like the homily (speech) except is done by me. :) The irony of how the different words & calling things by different names to fit the structure was not lost on either of us. We laughed a lot.
Deacon Bob offered for me to wear a special robe – I thought about it for about 3 seconds & declined, remembering the travesty of the last time I wore a robe for a wedding. As if the suit isn’t uncomfortable enough…
Evidently, the best man had a hip flask of tequila that he may or may not have been imbibing from. All I observed was that he progressively mellowed as the evening went on…
I got to lead a responsive prayer – which means I read the text, then at the end of my part, lift my right hand up, palm up, to signal that everyone in the room could/should repeat the phrase, “Lord, hear our prayer.” I spent a lot of time practicing this – for many reasons.
#1, this is a wedding, & this part of the liturgy is very meaningful to a lot of people. Even if its different for me doesn’t mean I can’t participate & see & know the presence of God in the middle of it.
#2 – I practiced because I’m a dork, & knew that I had to in order to get past the giggles that inevitably show up at times like this. Like when me & the boys were at the Abbey, we all 3 giggled, not irreverently (at least in our eyes) to hear the cantor’s sing-song voice leading the prayers & Daily Office… And, my brother Johnny & I used to copy the Benedictine Monks chanting in Latin that we listened to & observed on TV – we didn’t know the words, so it came out like, “Hee-mo-SHAAAAAAAR-mo…” Still almost giggled yesterday – nice to share that memory with my parents, too.
#3 – I wanted to make sure that I raised my hand at the right time – turns out I did ok, but I shouldn’t quit my day job. (Thanks Deacon Bob.)
The wedding was happening at St. Teresa’s, a really beautiful place. It was my first time in the new building – & man – it was sweet.
And what I didn’t know was that all of the “reflection” & “prayer” parts of the ceremony had to happen at the AMBO. Had no idea what that was… until DB pointed me to the pulpit. Hmm. Got it.
There were songs, readings from the Bible, a homily, a reflection, prayers, & some more prayers – & it was done. Then, to the reception.
Hung out for about 90 minutes waiting for the wedding party – they were doing pictures; we were drinking coffee & theBean was eating appetizers… by the time the bride & groom showed up, it was 8:50 p.m. & it was in Carson – so we cheered like crazy for them, then made our way out to go home. On the way out, I was told how terrible it was that I was leaving at this point. Which makes me wonder, as an aside, “How long is long enough to stay at a wedding reception?” Is it worse not to go at all, or to leave after only a ‘short’ time, regardless of the reason for it? Is it a “non-scoey” issue? I think so, but I could be wrong. I’m kinda on a role in that area
Everything ended up nice & fun, as theBean, theWeez, & I went through McD’s for 3 double-cheeseburgers. The beauty of it is that it is on my diet. Hooray!