Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nuptial High Mass in Oxford


It's not often that one has the chance to attend a Nuptial Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and still more beautiful and (so I'm told) more rare is the Nuptial High Mass. I was delighted to be asked by Fr John Saward, who is priest-in-charge of the lovely Arts and Crafts church of Saints Gregory and Augustine in Oxford, to serve as deacon at a Nuptial High Mass for Emily Shaw and Owen Curry. As it was my first time ministering as a deacon at a High Mass in the usus antiquior, I found the experience to be very moving, and the nuptial rites to be theologically rich.

The wedding took place on Saturday 26 February, with Ole Martin Stamnestrø, a seminarian from Oslo as sub-deacon, and Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory preached an excellent sermon on the sacramentum of marriage in which the husband is called, by the grace of God, to image Christ Crucified in his love for his wife, and she to honour and revere him with the love of the Church for Christ.

Unlike a Nuptial Mass in the Ordinary Form, the couple are married before Mass begins. So, they exchange vows and the rings before Mass begins. As husband and wife, then, they are given a prominent place in the Mass which unfolds like any other High Mass, except at two points. After the Pater noster, and after the Dismissal the priest turns and imparts a blessing to the bride and groom. In the first place he blesses the bridegroom and the bride, calling to mind the holy women of the Bible, that she be "dear to her husband like Rachel, wise like Rebecca, long-lived and faithful like Sarah", and asking God to endow her with every virtue for her state in life. At the second instance, he prays that God "may fulfill his blessing in you: that you may see your children's children even to the third and fourth generation, and afterwards possess life everlasting..."

Below are more photos from James Bradley's Flickr set.






Of your charity, please pray for Mr. and Mrs. Owen Curry.

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