Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This weekend, we have a kind of unique happening here at St. Charles; there are two weddings, one on Friday and one on Saturday. I don’t get much opportunity to talk about weddings and some of the surrounding topics around them, but given the special occasion, please allow me to do so now.
I’ve heard more than one priest say that they would rather do ten funerals than one wedding. It’s said as a bit of a joke, but the frequency with which it is said, there’s a fair amount of truth within it. Weddings can be, depending on the situation, a lot of work and sometimes even frustration on the part of the minister in charge.
Funerals, in comparison, are slightly less taxing and have the benefit of being more clearly seen as having an impact on those involved. Typically, people who attend funerals are looking for consolation and hope and are receptive to the prayers and messages found in the funeral liturgy. Some of those who attend weddings aren’t looking for much in the church service other than for it to be over so that they can get to the reception. It’s a harsh way to see a wedding, but on an occasion, such sentiments aren’t far from the reality. Most priests also have more experience with funerals and have a better established rhythm on how it proceeds, whereas weddings are less frequent and there are more variations within the liturgy itself, making it perhaps just a bit more stressful.
Personally, I love weddings. I admit, they can be a challenge at times. And in the midst of the pandemic there have been a ton more in terms of logistics to be figured out and challenges of making things beautiful and safe.
But a wedding is a wonderful moment in the lives of young people, many of whom we don’t enjoy much contact with otherwise. It’s a happy occasion, where we get to celebrate the love between a man and woman being joined together in a Sacrament. It’s an outpouring of God’s love and grace to support the lovely couple in their new life together.
Nowadays, there is a specialness to church weddings that needs to be highlighted and celebrated. Weddings, statistically speaking, are down across the board. Civil or religious, people are not getting married like they used to, which presents a challenge of sorts. Therefore, when someone does choose to get married here at St. Charles, or anywhere really, there’s a great need to support them throughout the process and beyond.
Over the last several years, the Diocese of Trenton has begun to put a greater emphasis and effort in helping young people throughout the wedding process. Here in the parish, I think there are some elements we can look at to improve the overall formation of couples as they enter into marriage. But that will take some time to implement. For now, let’s keep young couples preparing for marriage in our prayers!
Peace and Goodness,