ELEVEN couples exchanged “I dos” in a mass wedding held at the St. Arnold Janssen Parish in Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City last June 20.
The mass wedding, which was held free of cost to all the beneficiaries, was organized and sponsored by the Amor Dei Charismatic Community, in collaboration with the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) of Villa San Antonio in Tabada, Basak San Nicolas and St. Arnold Janssen Parish.
Rev. Fr. Herman Suico, parish priest, celebrated the marriage rite for the couples.
The couples were allowed to have well-wishers from families and friends, their own ring bearer and a flower girl, and a set of sponsors who placed the veil and the wedding cord around them.
A reception then followed at the parish ground.
While it was not the first mass wedding held in St. Arnold Janssen Parish since the missionary parish was founded in 1996 and was declared an archdiocesan shrine in honor of St. Arnold Janssen in 2003, last June 20’s ceremony was the first time that has all the trimmings of a full wedding ceremony, such as decorations and a wedding reception.
“We delight in the opportunity to help couples realize their wedding intentions and through this sacramental union, to help strengthen their marriage as they journey together through joys and sacrifices, tensions and exultations; through bliss and tribulations and all other facets of life. In this sacramental union, God’s unconditional love becomes utterly present and becomes steadfast in their lives; and through this special grace and power, may it flow to their family and community,” said Sister Marisol Gonzales, head servant of the Amor Dei Charismatic Community.
“St. Teresa of Calcutta is Amor Dei’s patroness. And being this year’s theme as the ‘Year of the Poor,’ we feel it is only apt to assist couples and help strengthen the fabric of family life,” she added. Among its social and spiritual initiatives, the Amor Dei regularly sponsors mass weddings across Cebu Island since 2001, starting in Minglanilla with 40 couples.
The charismatic community formed 11 working committees solely for this event. These committees include the committee on liturgy, which designates lectors and the readings for the ceremony; the physical arrangement and technical committee for the church and banquet arrangements and trimmings; and the committee on transportation and mobility, among others.
Announcements and applications for couples in Barangay Basak San Nicolas seeking to tie the knot were made in February this year. While many couples submitted their applications, only 11 of them, however, complied with the requirements.
The Amor Dei Charismatic Community, Villa San Antonio BEC and the St. Arnold Janssen Parish hope to replicate the mass wedding next year, with longer preparations and with more couples participating, including those who didn’t make it this year.
“This is a first for Villa San Antonio BEC, and we thank all those who pledged and supported to achieve this wonderful day for couples who otherwise cannot simply afford a wedding. We wish all couples an enduring marriage, and we hope that next year we can bring more couple’s journey to love at the altar,” said Emma Du, Kapilya Alagad of Villa San Antonio Residence Association and one of the godmothers.