I don’t remember how many times I have participated in the Rite of Marriage at non-Catholic churches but there have been several. I have always experienced hospitality and kindness from the clergy of the other Christian churches.
Today was no different. It was my first time being in St. Mary’s (Church of Ireland) Church, Dunmanway. I was made feel very at home by Rev Cliff Jeffers who is the Rector of the Fanlobbus Union. (That union now includes the Church of Ireland in my native Drimoleague.)
The congregation was a combination of people who are familiar with the Catholic marriage rites, those familiar with the Anglican rites and — I suspect — a share who are not familiar with either! The liturgy which was planned by Rev Jeffers and the couple reflected this reality and was accessible to everyone who wanted to actively join in.
Every good wish to Heather and Noel and family.
On reflection afterwards, a few general things struck me:-
- We don’t spend enough time in other Christian churches. It would help melt away walls of division and history if we did.
- Catholic marriages are nearly always celebrated in the context of Mass. Yet, a high percentage of people who are getting married are not regularly at Mass. But they believe they must have Mass and Communion at their wedding. Not true!
- Church of Ireland churches still sing all the verses of the hymns! Only Cathoics try to take short-cuts.
- At an inter-church marriage, it is always noticeable that all the people who arrive late are from the Catholic “side” of the congregation. How did so many Catholic people fall into believing over the years that it’s ok to arrive late at church and then leave early!