And a little bit of marriage ministry on the side…..

It’s that time of year again, where priests and couples meet with greater frequency to try and finalize the details for weddings. I know there are priests out there who really would prefer doing funerals to weddings, but I am not one of them — I love this stuff!

It turns out my marriage preparation page created a bit of a buzz, and one interesting suggestion came from James to check out, a site devoted to helping brides and grooms (but let’s face it, mainly brides) plan their wedding day. So I did, going into the Forum section and doing a search on the word “catholic”. A number of posts popped up, and as I read them I saw a great need for clarification. While there was a lot of desire expressed for a “church wedding”, there was also a lot of fear and confusion for many. And many other sincere souls were writing responses that, unfortunately, were not always a 100%-accurate exposition of the teaching and practice of the Church. I couldn’t resist: I joined the site, knowing that the estrogen-to-testosterone level was not going to be in my favour, and dove in with a few (hopefully encouraging) answers.

Well, this has turned out to be a great blessing for me! It’s a lot of fun! I’m (almost) getting swept up in the excitement of marriage prep for these couples whom I don’t even know! And in most cases the things that are making people nervous or upset really are not show-stoppers for their church wedding, which means that they come away with a boost as well.

If you’d like to check out these posts, just go to the search engine and type fatherdowd in the “Username search” field (and then click the Search button at the bottom, obviously). There have been some fun ones there, such as the cost of a wedding celebration, whether or not a non-Catholic needs to convert to marry a Catholic, a discussion on Bible readings (including the famous “wives submit to your husbands” one), questions of church jurisdiction, etc. To close with a comment left on the site by another member:

Father, I have to say I am so happy you have joined these boards. As a non-Catholic marrying a Catholic I have taken a lot from your words, so a sincere thank you!