Patience is a Virtue for Commentators

It's my second wedding as mass commentator and it didn't turn out as I expected.

Actually, the assigned wedding commentator just requested me to fill in for her. We had an assigned lector and so the First Reading task is now out of the way.

The first part of the wedding mass went smoothly up until the Homily. In the homily, the officiating priest practically gave a very lengthy message cum advise to the newly weds. Then after the homily was the actual marriage ceremony.

Even the marriage ceremony went very well - up until the very end. That end is the part when the priest presents the wedding couple and nudges them to briefly kiss each other. Naturally, at the end of that short kiss will be the priest enjoining the assembly for an applause.

Applause to Signal the End?

Well, for me, my general cue for something that has just finished is an applause. I took the applause from the audience as an indication that the marriage ceremony or the wedding rites has concluded. And since we were still in the confines of the Holy Mass, I was aware that the mass would now resume. And so I started to tell the parents and the godparents to go back to their seats.

Well, I was wrong.

With just a few words out of my mouth, the priest looked at me sternly and blurted, "I AM NOT YET FINISHED!"

To that, I simply nodded to acknowledge that I heard, understood and will follow his instructions. Honestly, I could not imagine what more he would be saying after his long homily and the concluding applause.

Well, apparently, he had some more things to say. He gave this spiel to the wedding couple about looking at the clock and taking note of the time. After noting the time, the couple was supposed to remember the exact time they were wedded.

I would learn later that this was just his usual style in wedding masses he officiated. I guess the "exact time" component was suppose to be a tidbit to make the wedding more memorable for the couple.

An Obvious Mistake

I suppose my mistake was so obvious that, later on, I would hear from colleagues a story from mass assistants about a commentator rushing through a wedding mass. In other words, the incident was talked about. But so what, we ALL make mistakes.

Could the priest have handled it differently?

I think so. Maybe when I was telling the parents and godparents to return to their seats, he could just have allowed them to go back. The old folks have been standing for too long already. Besides, his final words were really for the newly weds.

After the old folks have seated, he could have just said, "Just a few words for the couple." And then proceed with his can-you-tell-me-the-time spiel, time-check, or whatever.

That is MY opinion.

Lessons Learned

Patience is a virtue. Let the priest finish everything he wants to say. Don't simply rely on what he says or gestures. Rather, look at body movement. If he leaves, then that's the exit. I'm quite sure that if he's back at the altar, he won't be going back to the couple to say "Wait, I forgot to say something..."

Finally, be especially vigilant if you don't know yet the priest's style of officiating a wedding mass. Priests have their quirks too.