If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have difficulties with the unity candle. (We do not use it at St. Sebastian.) Among other things, as we have been discovering over these few months, we have spent so much time and care making sure that everybody is aware, informed, and is consenting to what is taking place. To whit:
- Before the ceremony, the couple is catechized and asked both verbally and through written statement that they are knowledgable about what is going on and that they freely choose to do it.
- Banns are published to the community for three weeks informing them of what is about to happen (and giving them a chance to weigh in if they feel so inclined.)
- The wedding bells are rung.
- It is announced that this couple is about to marry.
- They publicly state their intentions to get married with knowledge and freedom.
- They exchange their vows.
- It is announced that they exchanged their vows.
- If people still don’t get it they exchange rings.
- Often they kiss now as a further sign.
Then, for some inexplicable reason, some people feel a need to put on a piece of theater whereby, just incase somebody didn’t quite get what was going on, they take two candles, light one candle together with them, and then obliterate the light from the original candles. (I have lots of problems with the symbolism, particularly at the Mass, with this.)
NOW, isn’t interesting that the new rite for marriage has new options for those entering into matrimony, but the unity candle is conspicuously absent? Actually, I am so happy that they Church did not make it an official rite. There would just be a ton of verbiage added to it. “Now, bride and groom take the candle of their single selves, a light that has burned since their baptism, symbolizing the life of BLAH BLAH BLAH. . .
Read more HERE.
But there are some newly codified options but I doubt, unless our neighborhood changes dramatically, they will be of much use at this parish. The first option takes the place of the exchange of rings. It is the rite of the blessing and exchange of arras or coins. These are used primarily with those of a heritage and practice from Spain, Latin American countries, and the Philippines.
Another addition is the blessing of the wedding veil or the lazo. The lazo is a decorative chain placed around the bride and groom’s shoulder. The veil would be placed on the bride’s head with part of it placed on the groom’s shoulder. This would take place just prior to the nuptial blessing in those places where this is custom.
"Of course," some of my liturgist friends would say, "what does this say about taking a rose to Mary?"
*sigh* More on that in two weeks.