Friday, May 22, 2009

An Unusual Wedding


Yesterday afternoon I drove down to Shaftesbury where I celebrated the wedding of some parishioners today. The parish of the Most Holy Name and St Edward is run by Fr Dylan James, a young priest whom I first met when he was an undergraduate in London. Fr Dylan studied at Oscott and later completed a doctorate in Moral Theology, a subject he now lectures part-time at Wonersh.
The wedding was unusual because both bride and groom were divorced and had teenage children. I have to admit that I was quite worried about the sermon. How could I preach about marriage and avoid the danger of giving the wrong signals to the young people present? In the end I decided the only way was to tackle the issue head on. Having used Satnav to find my way to Shaftesbury - "turn around when possible" - I spoke first about the providence of God. I then spoke about the importance of a good Catholic marriage preparation course - a couple when they marry are assenting to a Catholic understanding of marriage. If this consent isn't there we would regard the marriage as invalid - hence the possibility of an annulment. In this case one partner had the marriage annulled on grounds of lack of canonical form, and the other on grounds of an intention against an integral aspect of marriage. Having cleared the air, I was then able to speak about marriage as a path to holiness, a vocation and a sacrament, and about the meaning of love. The readings they chose made this very easy.
I was a bit nervous about how the couple would feel about me mentioning annullments but was pleased that they really appreciated the sermon. Not only that, lots of their guests also commented that I'd answered their questions - and three want to come to see me about sorting out their own marriage situation.
My prayers to the Holy Spirit for inspiration really paid off!

1 comment:

Elizabeth from Sussex said...

Speak the truth - the truth will make you free.