My parish is in the news! Twenty-two couples were married or had their marriage validated yesterday at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, CA.
The couples – 15 previously married through civil ceremonies and seven who were never married – sat at the ends of the front pews and exchanged vows, rings and kisses simultaneously. Such mass weddings are common in Mexico.Their entourages crammed the pews. Friends jammed photo equipment, paparazzi-like, into the faces of the brides and grooms. In all, more than 600 people packed the church, spilling into the aisles and craning their necks to see the couples.“We planned for this day, and we wanted to help for more weddings like this in the future,” said Lucia Guzman Reyes, 28, one of the brides.She and her husband, Sergio Reyes, with whom she has four children, said they wanted to get married in the church as a sacrament. Thirty of their friends and family members attended the ceremony.
I am expecting comments from some expressing self-righteous outrage and disgust that the Church would allow a couple with four children to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony. "Isn't that just the Church being hypocritical and letting them off the hook?" What, would you rather the Church say, "You fornicators, you've made your bed, now lie in it?" It must be hard to belong to a church that doesn't allow its members to set things right and have the expectation of perfection.
Congratulations to these happy couples and applause to our permanent deacon, Rafael Romero, and his wife Delia for organizing this event!
Update: Today was St. Joseph's ministry fair where I saw Deacon Romero and his wife and congratulated them on a job well done. Another long-time couple in the parish, Ed and Gerry Thaete, were - as usual - working at their various ministries notwithstanding the fact that today was their 57th wedding anniversary! Keep these couples in your prayers and pray also that anyone who is married finds themselves able to be in the same position some day.