Wednesday 30 November 2011

Traditional Wedding 2

I presume everyone is familiar with a wedding in the Novus Ordo - bride and groom taking their places at the front of church, a hymn to start the proceedings, the beginning of Mass as usual, if it is to be a Mass, or a Collect, if it is to be a 'simple' wedding, the readings, a sermon, and then the wedding, followed by the signing of the register and photos of same, a hymn and then the rest of the Mass as usual or the exit from church.
In a 'Traditional' Wedding, the bride enters the church in the usual way, the groom joins her and they make their way to the priest who is standing 'at the altar-gates', so says the Ritual.  The Wedding Service takes place immediately, very short and to the point - though in my recent wedding we made sure that the modern vows and civil statements were properly woven into the service.  The Marriage Register was signed as usual - photo on an earlier blog.  But then the newly married couple were taken onto the sanctuary and placed at special priedieux for the Wedding Mass; they were taken up to the top step of the altar on three occasions, after the Pater Noster, for Holy Communion and finally at the Blessing of the Mass, before exiting triumphantly from the church. Our recent wedding Mass was a Solemn High Mass, celebrant, deacon and subdeacon, plenty of servers around the altar, tons of smells and bells, choir singing wonderfully throughout the Mass.  A most wonderful, colourful, spectacle, which impressed even those who had never before seen a Traditional Latin Mass. I love doing weddings, but nothing could beat this for a beautiful statement of the importance of Marriage to the Catholic Church.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Traditional Wedding 1

 This post is in answer to Ben Trovato, who asked this about 'Traditional Weddings': I would be fascinated to know in a little more detail how the traditional rite of marriage differs from the modern form: could you highlight some key differences or point me in the right direction to find out? I would be most grateful.

When I was ordained in 1959, all weddings were 'traditional', that is, performed according to the rite of the Latin Church which had been in use in England for a very long time.  The promises of bride and groom were allowed to be in English, but the prayers of blessing were in Latin.  Among the promise they each made to the other was the phrase "With my body I thee worship" and "This gold and silver I thee give". (Depending upon the status and wealth of the couple, this could mean a gold sovereign or a silver threepenny bit - I seem to remember that sometimes a priest would hang on to this gold or silver). The ceremony was very short - there was no sermon, no hymns, no organ playing.  And in 1959 there were still some priests who married mixed religion couples in the porch of the church.
After the religious ceremony, the couple, priest and witnesses, went into the sacristy where the Registrar of Marriages was waiting, for the civil ceremony.  I was always allowed to lead the bride and groom through this part of the proceedings.  After this we all signed the Marriage Register, and the couple departed.
The whole ceremony took only a very short length of time.  So short in fact that on one occasion when the parish priest and I were asked to conduct four weddings on the same afternoon, my PP decided to do them at fifteen minute intervals. As a long time parish priest, he should have known better - when the first bride turned up fifteen minutes late, the whole afternoon was thrown into utter confusion!
And, of course, sometimes (as now) the wedding was followed by the Nuptial Mass when both bride and groom were practicing Catholics. But more about that and the differences in my next post.

Wedding Photos

(An almost terminal inertia has caused a delay in publishing photos of the  wedding of the year - literally - of the year!)
Almost a month ago (months ago!), Jane Oliver became Mrs Wilson when she married Michael Wilson with a traditional Solemn High Mass. Here are some of the photos of the event.

(Sorry about the order of the photos - trying to get them in the right order is causing friction of the brain!)