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A Wedding of Your Own

Author(s): Padraig McCarthy

ISBN13: 9781853906787

ISBN10: 1853906786

Publisher: Veritas

Extent: 293 pages

Binding: Paperback

Size: 20.4 x 14 x 2.4 cm

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  • A Wedding of Your Own is the perfect book for every couple planning a Catholic wedding, for married couples wanting to renew their appreciation of Christian marriage, and for ministers serving engaged or married couples. In the rush of practical preparations, it is easy to neglect emotional preparation for a wedding and marriage.

     

    A Wedding of Your Own explains the entire wedding ceremony in detail, allowing each couple to make their wedding unique and personally meaningful. In this completely revised edition the author considers the following questions: Is a church just an attractive and traditional setting for a wedding? What if the bride and groom are of different denominations? Is the Christian understanding of sexuality, love and marriage all out of touch with the lives of people today, or does it present a wonderful challenge?

     

    The book looks also to the years beyond the wedding day, as the process of wedding one another continues to deepen. The marriage ceremony is therefore put in context as a beginning rather than an end in itself.

  • Padraig McCarthy


      Pádraig McCarthy was born in Dublin and ordained for service in the archdiocese of Dublin in 1967. He served in a variety of appointments in the archdiocese and is the author of two previous books and numerous articles for journals and newspapers.


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    A Wedding of Your Own aims to present some of the riches of Christian marriage spirituality, using as its base the Rite of Marriage in the Catholic Church in Ireland. The book presents this material specifically for those preparing to celebrate their wedding, for ministers serving engaged or married couples, and for all who wish to renew their appreciation of Christian marriage. It was first published in 1978; this is the fourth edition. The presentation addresses the social and religious scene at the beginning of the 21st century, encouraging the readers to see beyond popular secular understandings of love and marriage. Rather than present a fully-worked-out spirituality, it offers an approach to the scripture readings, texts and Rite, to stimulate the readers own reflection, and suggestions also for continuing this reflection in the years following the wedding. The marriage ceremony is therefore put in context as a beginning rather than an end in itself.

    - International Academy for Marital Spirituality Review

    While discussing the Wedding Mass with a young couple recently, I was taken aback when the bride to be announced: We ve decided not to have the usual readings from the Bible. It turned out that the chief bridesmaid had offered to recite some of her own poetry for the occasion. The scripture readings were eventually saved with the concession that one of the chief bridesmaid s poems (about the joys of female friendship as I recall) was saved for a communion reflection. The next hurdle was the music, where the bride s bottom line was: It s our wedding, Father. This could be the cue for the battle-weary priest to present the couple with the gift of Padraig McCarthy s A Wedding of Your Own. There are many helpful thoughts and practical suggestions for the wedding itself, as well as a variety of related topics. These include a meaningful series of reflections on Christian marriage through the ceremony itself with readings, prayers and guidelines for music as well as a wedding checklist and Easter dates for most of the 21st century! An ideal resource for the harried priest and discerning couple, with further applications for use by adult education and liturgy groups.

    - Intercom Magazine

    In the rush of practical preparations, it is easy to neglect emotional preparation for a wedding and marriage. A wedding of your own explains the entire wedding ceremony in detail, allowing each couple to make their wedding unique and personally meaningful. In this completely revised edition the author considers the following questions: Is a church just an attractive and traditional setting for a wedding? What if the bride and groom are of different denominations? Is the Christian understanding of sexuality, love and marriage out of touch with the lives of people today, or does it present a wonderful challenge?

    The book looks also to the years beyond the wedding day, as the process of wedding one another continues to deepen. The marriage ceremony is therefore put in context as a beginning rather than an end in itself.

    - Catholic Ireland.net



  • WHAT SHOULD WE DO FIRST?

    Some matters to decide on first of all:

    1. Is a church wedding what we really want?
    2. If so, which church?
    3. What kind of wedding ceremony?
    4. When will we celebrate our wedding?
    5. What are the first steps?

    Do we want a church wedding?
    Does it seem strange to ask this question? We would like to encourage Christians to celebrate a church wedding, of course, and I hope this book will encourage you in this. It should help you consider what a church wedding actually is. If you are clear that the Christian understanding of marriage is what you really want, even though you know that you fail in many ways, then you can make a sincere decision to plan for a church wedding. Your parish will be very happy to help you in making your plans accordingly.

    On the other hand, if you know in your own heart and soul that faith in God, and being a member of the Church, do not really figure in your lives and you are not ready to let them be a part of your lives at this time, it is important that you consider waiting until you are ready, or consider a non-church wedding. On the day when you promise to love each other truly for the rest of your lives, it would be sad to have anything false about your celebration. As you look through the parts of the ceremony, you will see that you would be saying and agreeing with the whole Christian understanding of marriage. If this is not for you, you can make a sincere decision to contact your local office of the Registrar of Marriages in Ireland, or the equivalent elsewhere, and make your plans.

    Which church?
    Normally, the wedding takes place in the parish of the residence of the bride or of the groom. This is the natural place: the parish where you belong to the community, where you come for your Sundays - a place where you have some roots.

    But what happens if you dont have a parish, if you have been moving around and dont feel you belong anywhere? In this case, it is important for each of you to make contact with your local parish right away; and to do what you can to belong. (If you move to a new home after the wedding, make sure you contact your new parish soon.) Its here that you make the first contact to arrange your wedding plans. You can get all the information you need there.

    What if you dont like the church building in either of your parishes? This can happen, and the wedding can be arranged for elsewhere. But the first place to consider should be the parish, or one of the parishes, where you belong now. Couples sometimes pick on a church somewhere because of its picturesque location, or because its near a hotel where they want to have a wedding reception - a place where they have no connection whatever. I strongly suggest that you do not base your choice of location for the wedding ceremony on how good it will be for the photographs, or for convenience for the reception afterwards. If you do plan your wedding ceremony for a parish other than your own, make sure you check whether that parish will require you to arrange for a priest to come. If you are not both members of the same Church, enquire in your parish about arrangements. In this case, you may need to allow more time.

    Wedding abroad
    In particular, if you are planning to celebrate your wedding abroad, you need to find out what is necessary - ask in your own parish. Persons marrying abroad should ensure that all the legal requirements of the country in question are met, and should enquire as to the procedure for obtaining a marriage certificate from that country - the relevant embassy or religious authorities may be able to advise. If a marriage certificate is in a foreign language, it should normally be accepted for official purposes in the Republic of Ireland if accompanied by an official translation or a translation from a recognised translation agency. Certificates of Freedom to marry (also known as Certificates de Coutume or Certificates of Nulla Osta), which state that a person is not married, may be needed for marriage in some countries. Irish citizens living in Ireland wishing to obtain such a certificate should apply to the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs, 72/76 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2 (Tel: (01) 478 0822, extension 304). Irish citizens living abroad should contact their nearest Irish Embassy. See also the Contacts section at the end of the book.

    What kind of wedding ceremony?
    The essential celebration of the wedding ceremony itself consists of your exchange of consent before the witnesses; this is set in the context of prayers, readings and symbolic actions (rings, etc.). Along with this, there may be music and other elements you choose.

    The wedding ceremony can also be celebrated in the context of the celebration of Mass. Here, in addition to the above, we prepare the altar with bread and wine, we pray the Eucharistic Prayer where we give thanks to God, remembering in particular what Jesus did at the supper table the night before he died, and we share in the Bread of Life in Holy Communion, a sign that we are united in Christ. From the time of the early Christians, they saw a connection between the self-giving in love of Jesus, and the self-giving in love of husband and wife. Which way you choose will depend on your own situation and circumstances. If in doubt, discuss it with one of the staff of your parish, or with the priest or other minister who will be involved in the ceremony.

    When will we celebrate our wedding?
    First of all, you will need to allow enough time for what needs to be done before you marry. In Ireland, each of you needs to contact your home parish at least three months before the date you choose. If you are not members of the same Church, be sure to allow extra time for arranging it.

    In addition, in the Republic of Ireland, you must give at least three months notice to the local Registrar of Marriages for the place where you want to celebrate your wedding. This is civil law; it is quite simple and has nothing to do with your church, except that we may not go ahead with the wedding without this! Enquire locally about who to contact. The minimum age at which a person, ordinarily resident in the Republic of Ireland, may contract a marriage valid in Irish law is eighteen years of age, whether the marriage takes place in Ireland or elsewhere. Outside the Republic of Ireland, check what civil requirements may be.

    To decide on a day, youll need to check with the parish where you hope to celebrate your wedding. For example, in many places, weddings are not celebrated on Sundays or Holy Days. If you are thinking of late March or anytime in April, check the date of Easter for that year. Youll find a list of Easter dates in Appendix 6. Holy Week - the week before Easter Sunday - is not a good time. Because of the season of Lent, the weeks from. Ash Wednesday to Easter are not the most appropriate time. You will also need to be sure that the church is available for the day and time you have in mind, and that the priest or whoever will assist you at the wedding is available.

    What are the first steps?
    If you contact one of the staff of your own parish, they will usually be able to give you good information about taking it from there.



    COUNTDOWN

    How about a plan? It can be useful to have an idea of when you want to have done the many bits and pieces that go into preparing for your wedding. The following is a suggestion for a countdown to your launch! Make out your own. Agree together about how youll need to tailor it to your own situation, or make your own plan and build in the arrangements for various other things you want to do.

    When?

    12 months or more
    Contact parish to arrange date, church, priest or other minister, and to check about the paperwork needed.
    Ask about preparation course, and make booking if necessary.
    In the case of interchurch or interfaith marriage, or any unusual factor, ask about these.
    If you have not done so, discuss between yourselves what part your faith in God takes in your life, and whether there are implications for your practice and lifestyle. Are there hurts, bitterness, anger, etc. that you might be able to take steps to heal? Obstacles to your love for one another or for God? Matters to ask forgiveness for? Sources of resentment?
    Each evening from now to the wedding, look back over the day and ask yourself:
    a. How has love touched my life today? In your own words, say a prayer of thanks for this.
    b. How have I been able to show love today? In your own words, say a prayer of thanks for this.
    c. Have I failed to show love in some way today? How can I learn from this for tomorrow? In your own words, ask Gods forgiveness, and say a prayer of thanks for the gift of forgiveness.
    If you practise becoming aware of the ways you fail, it will help clear the path for growing in love. And any time you fail in a big way, it will be easier to face it and to deal with it.

    6 months or more
    Contact parish for appointment for completion of forms, etc.
    Notify civil registrar.
    Begin looking at what you may choose for the ceremony.
    If you have not done so: pray together sometimes!
    How about a one-day or weekend retreat together for those preparing for marriage? Your parish may be able to suggest whats available.

    3 months or more
    Have a good idea of what you would like for the ceremony, and discuss it with the priest or minister assisting you. Review music for the celebration.
    In sending invitations, be sure to invite your guests to the wedding celebration in the church.

    2 months or more
    With the plan for the ceremony fairly well finalised, arrange with your guests about taking active part in the celebration.
    Arrange a day for a wedding rehearsal.
    Where music for the congregation may be unfamiliar to some, is there some way you can help them to become familiar with it in the coming weeks?

    1 month
    Getting hectic? Make sure you have some relaxed time together over the month.
    Make sure those who will read at the ceremony have copies.
    Keep a spare copy yourselves in case they lose theirs.
    You may find people telling you jokes about marriage which are decidedly off-colour, or making negative remarks (Last days of freedom! etc.) which, while intended to be humorous, are degrading to the important step you are about to make. Negative humour can be hurtful and destructive of love. Let them know gently that this is not what you need - even if they accuse you of lacking a sense of humour!

    3 weeks
    Go over the wedding ceremony together bit by bit. Talk about all you have chosen - what the readings, the prayers, the non-verbal parts, the setting, etc., mean to you at this stage
    Speak aloud to one another the words of consent you will use.
    Speak these words again a number of times over the coming weeks, so that youll be very much at ease with them on the wedding day.

    2 weeks
    Still making sure you have some time for a prayer each day, individually and together? It will help make your wedding ceremony more meaningful.
    If there are pre-wedding parties:
    For those who take alcohol or nicotine or any social stimulants - decide now to go easy on these, even if people put pressure on you with the best of intentions. Say how you appreciate it, and still say No, thank you. Set your limits, and stick to them. However pleasant they may be at the time, you know what the effects can be. You dont want to spend the weeks before your wedding day in a haze. What better stimulant could you want than the person you want to marry?

    10 days
    As you prepare for a whole new life together as husband and wife:
    For either of you, are there matters in your past that you want to put behind you? Start this new stage of the rest of your life with a clean slate?
    Perhaps you could decide on when and where and with whom you could celebrate the gift of Gods forgiveness in confession: the sacrament of reconciliation. Even if it has been a long time, theres no need to be afraid.
    Remember some of the stories of Jesus: perhaps read the prodigal son in St Lukes gospel, chapter 15 (if you like, think of mother/daughter as well as father/son). Or the woman brought to Jesus (St Johns gospel, the beginning of chapter 8), when Jesus said: Has no-one condemned you? Neither do I And pray for one another in this!

    1 Week
    Make sure you have all the things you need for the wedding celebration: rings; exchange of gifts if relevant; wedding candle(s) if relevant; booklet or leaflet for the ceremony if relevant; envelopes with the various offerings, and who is to look after them. Youre preparing for a feast. Go easy on food in the days before it, so youll appreciate it better. Even decide on a day of some fasting for the day before?

    3 days
    Remember:
    Its unusual that absolutely everything goes according to plan - but thats okay. Some things that happen make a wedding day all the more memorable!
    Even if something goes badly wrong, remember that you can still celebrate a perfectly good wedding.
    Whats needed is a man and woman:
    a. who know what they are doing;
    b. who intend to make this life-long commitment;
    c. who are capable of carrying this out, day by day; and
    d. who freely make this commitment before their witnesses.

    Now relax, knowing that the Lord is with you!
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A Wedding of Your Own