Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Beautiful Wedding

In the end I didn't join the choir for the Nuptial Mass of Tomasz and Kazia, as I hadn't practised, and Mass V (Kyrie magnæ Deus potentiæ) was not familiar to me. However, the Mass setting chosen sounded admirable (kudos to Tony, Tony, Simon &c.), even if Tony - as we haven't ceased reminding him! - managed to sing it before the Pax, thus totally confusing the congregation! The organist played "in the French style" during the Ecce Agnus Dei, but that was the only other little point of criticism: the liturgy, with Fr Popplewell as celebrant of the Missa cantata, was beautiful.

Of course, the bride was radiant, and only ten minutes late... during her entrance, James sang and played the obligatory Schubert contrafactum setting of the Ave Maria, which made for a very pleasing sentimental entry, with her proud father walking arm-in-arm to come and give her away.

It struck me forcibly how arrestingly quickly the couple marry: they quickly state their free consent, and as quickly plight their troth: all thereafter is for the blessing of them as man and wife, and for their thanksgiving to the Almighty; and to do so, the greatest of all prayers, the Mass, follows.

Yours truly was able to make one small but useful contribution to the celebration: I have on file a Word document for the marriage service, with the Latin and an English version partly mine, and partly cribbed from various sources... this I emailed to Kazia a month back, and it turned out to be just what they needed. While it was my compilation, someone - Fr? - has lightly edited it.

One example of lawful mutual enrichment (ad mentem Summorum Pontificum) that I was able to suggest: one of the modern Roman Prefaces for Marriage was used, which is in fact a revision of a text from the Gelasian Sacramentary; here is the Latin (as sung at the altar), with my very literal translation, as supplied to the (perplexed?) faithful:

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus.
Qui fœdera nuptiarum blando concordiæ jugo et insolubili pacis vinculo nexuisti, ut multiplicandis adoptionum filiis sanctorum connubiorum fecunditas pudica serviret. Tua enim, Domine, providentia, tuaque gratia ineffabilibus modis utrumque dispensas, ut, quod generatio ad mundi produxit ornatum, regeneratio ad Ecclesiæ perducat augmentum: per Christum Dominum nostrum.
Per quem, cum Angelis et omnibus Sanctis, hymnum laudis tibi canimus, sine fine dicentes:

Truly worthy and right it is, just and salutary, for us unto Thee always and everywhere to give thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty eternal God:
Who hast bound the covenant of marriage with a sweet yoke of harmony and an indissolvable bond of peace, so that the chaste fruitfulness of holy marriages may serve for multiplying the children of adoption. For it is by Thy providence, Lord, and by Thy grace that Thou dispensest in ineffable ways both that generation produce adornment for the world, and regeneration lead to the increase of the Church: through Christ our Lord.
Through Him, with the Angels and all Saints, a hymn of praise unto Thee we sing, without end saying:

Fr Popplewell preached a short, concise, gentle homily for the happy couple, who were at matching prie-dieux just inside the altar rails over on the Epistle side:

The noble estate of holy wedlock was instituted by God in Paradise, when he blessed the union of our first parents; and Our Blessed Lord (as all men know) raised this institution to the dignity of a sacrament, lifting it to the supernatural level by infusing it with grace. The Apostle teaches that marriage is so exalted that it is comparable only to the mystical union of Christ and His Bride, Holy Church. To live in marriage, receptiveness to grace is the key to growing ever in mutual love and understanding, and to this end devotion to prayer and the Sacraments is vital; bride and groom ought petition Holy Mary and St Joseph to aid them, just as they should take their example of life as a Holy Family to heart.

For this end, the sermon ended with a bidding for all present to say, "Hail, Mary...".

The choir sang the Ave maris stella (at Offertory) and Adoro te (at Communion), and while Fr read the Last Gospel, the newly-weds went and knelt at the Lady altar, entrusting their marriage to the Holy Mother of God, while the solemn Salve was sung in supplication. They processed out to a curious mediæval piece, an ancient Carmelite hymn beginning Salve Mater misericordiæ.

The reception (at the Polish Club) began at 5pm, and was still going strong at 1.30am apparently! But after so enjoyable and happy a day, I had departed a little earlier, at half eleven - which was wise, for by the time I'd driven south out of Hobart, taken a wrong road, retraced my path, and finally arrived at my host's for the night, it was well after midnight.

Before Thine altar throne
This mercy we implore;
As Thou dost knit them, Lord, in one,
So bless them evermore.

– Henry W. Baker, "How welcome was the call", v. 6, HA&M, 1861.

1 comment:

Patricia Cecilia said...

Joshua,thank you for the slavishly-accurate a la Fr. Zed version of that nuptual Preface--how beautiful! And also thank you for the link to Salve Mater; I think I may have sung this earlier in life, but will definitely add this to my schola's repertoire.