Oldies but Goodies - A Renewal of Vows

I should have known that this wedding was not like any other when I didn't find the usual Marriage Contract document. Ordinarily, the Marriage Contract would be laid out on the altar before the wedding mass. This is the document where the parents, and godparents would sign after the wedding. I also read this to get the names of the couple being wed. As the wedding mass commentator, I say the bride and the groom's names in my wedding script to personalize the wedding. Otherwise, it would sound bland if I would just referred to them as 'bride' and 'groom'.

Well, today, in lieu of the marriage contract, there was just a framed certificate on the altar. I didn't even ask why and didn't give it much thought. I just jotted down the names of the couple (Jose and Olivia).

Since there was no scheduled Lector for today, I approached the entourage at the church entrance door. Usually, I would approach the groom to get persons to proclaim the readings. The bride isn't there yet and the rest in the entourage wouldn't have a clue as to who would read.

To my surprise, the groom isn't exactly young. He would probably be in his 70's or 80's. "Lucky dog!", I thought. I wondered how young was his bride. The groom had an American accent and he told me to ask the bride who the reader would be. So he pointed me to the bride and, well the bride was as old as he was! Now it dawned on me that this wedding mass would be a Renewal of Vows.

Finally, the bride pointed me to her daughter as the reader for the First Reading. The daughter also had an American accent. The daughter was quite willing, to my surprise. She asked her own daughter (the couple's granddaughter) to take over the Prayer of the Faithful. The granddaughter was complaining as to why so-and-so can't be the reader instead. And she was whining with a heavy American accent.

As I was orienting the daughter, I learned that she was a Lector in their parish in the U.S. She only asked me if she needs to signal the assembly with her hand for the Responsorial Psalm. I said no. Apparently, many churches in the U.S. don't have mass commentators to lead in the responses.

The daughter (the lector) gave an impeccable reading at the ambo. The granddaughter's reading though left much to be desired. She was uptalking like many young adults in the U.S. and it sounded irritating to me.

Differences in the Renewal of Vows

This, being the first Renewal of Vows I attended as wedding mass commentator, here are some differences I noticed. And to these differences, we had to adjust.

  1. Seating Arrangement

    A young gentleman asked me who will sit in the chairs reserved for the wedding couple's parents. At the couple's age, I suppose they no longer had parents. I didn't know what to answer and so referred the question to the mother-butlers who had more experience with these type of weddings. Anyway, we just agreed and told the gentleman that any surviving elders (uncles, aunts) or siblings (brothers, sisters) of either side of the couple could sit on the reserved seats.

  2. Change in the Wedding Script

    I took the cue from the officiating priest, Fr. Ben, on his adjusting to the renewal by changing parts of the commentators guide or script.
    "As they start their new life together..." became "As they renew their vows..."
    "We request the parents and godparents to stand by the couple" became "We request the couple's children to stand by their parents."

  3. Addressing the Wedding Couple

    In the regular wedding mass, we mentioned the bride and groom by their names or nicknames. True to the Filipino tradition of respect and endearment towards elders, the officiating priest referred to this couple as "Tatay Jose and Nanay Olivia" rather than just "Jose and Olivia". I did the same in my script. And this was done all throughout the wedding mass. It was lovely to hear. I wasn't just sure if the attendees, some of whom were Fil-Americans appreciated the extra effort.

Lessons Learned

Prior to this wedding, I didn't realize that the script for the wedding mass would need to be adjusted. Now, I know. Maybe it's time for the Parish Office to create a different guide for the wedding mass commentators. It's either that or I would need to make my own set of copies. The wedding mass assistants too need to be responsive to how to manage the seating arrangement.

UPDATE: I would be visited a year later by someone whom I thought was a stranger. That visit turned out to be a special surprise from this memorable wedding.