POPE SURPRISES COUPLE BY OFFICIATING THEIR MARRIAGE

I know the couple in this wonderful story and knew they were married Saturday in Santo Stefano degli Abissini church inside Vatican City and I’ve seen some great photos of the ceremony taken by friends of the couple in attendance. What a lifetime of memories in just an hour!

I knew of it but did not tweet or do a FB post about it – hopefully that shows I am a better friend than a journalist!

It has been sweltering in Rome and was indeed the same inside the church on Saturday as there is no air conditioning in this centuries old church, the oldest in Vatican City State. The church is rather small and may have been hot due to the presence of the 50 or 60 people inside for the wedding. Usually, however, as many of you know who have been to Rome in the summer, if you want to stay cool on a hot and humid day, you enter a church!

St. Stephen of the Abyssinians, dedicated to Stephen the Protomartyr, is the national church of Ethiopia whose liturgy is celebrated according to the Alexandrian rite of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. In terms of architectural history, it is the oldest surviving church in the Vatican. (it’s obviously the little church on the left in this photo)

Tradition says the church was built by Pope Leo I (ca. 400–461) and named Santo Stefano Maggiore. It was rebuilt in 1159 under Pope Alexander III, who also built a monastery for Ethiopian monks next to it.

In 1479, Pope Sixtus IV restored the church and assigned it to the Coptic monks in the city. It was at this time that the name was changed to reflect that it was served by Ethiopians (Abyssinian). It was altered under Pope Gregory XI (1700–1721), and again in 1928.

In recent years the church has undergone restoration and today is used principally for weddings or celebrations of special importance for the clergy who work in the Vatican.

I have also attended several wakes for Vatican prelates in Santo Stefano, including the late Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli.

POPE SURPRISES COUPLE BY OFFICIATING THEIR MARRIAGE

A Swiss guard and his Brazilian wife-to-be were taken aback to see Pope Francis appearing unannounced in the church to bless their wedding.

By Robin Gomes (vaticanmedia)

Pope Francis on Saturday surprised a Swiss guard and his would-be Brazilian wife, by appearing un-announced in the sacristy just ahead of the wedding ceremony and decided to marry them.

Surprise!

Neither the couple nor the few attending the ceremony knew about the Pope’s surprise move, said Brazilian Father Renato dos Santos, one of those present. The priest entered the sacristy of the church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians in Vatican City to prepare for the celebration when he was taken aback by a smiling pope seated there waiting for him. The Holy Father took charge and went ahead.

“Never in my life, never would I have thought of finding the Pope in a sacristy,” Fr. dos Santos told Vatican News. The Brazilian priest noted the people inside the church were so surprised they were wondering if it was really Pope Francis. “I saw him as a true parish priest who takes care for his own sheep in the parish,” Fr. dos Santos said. “He’s always done it this way.”

Three verbs – success to marriage

The Holy Father’s homily was on three verbs: ‘to begin’, ‘to stop’, ‘to resume the journey’ – which he explained are needed to be able to live their marriage in fullness. “The Pope showed how dear to his heart marriage is,” Fr. dos Santos pointed out. “The Pope has great love for this sacrament which helps start a family and which wants to put God at the center,” he added.

Advertisements

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD…

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD…

Finally, THE wedding!

As Lauren and Mark enjoy their honeymoon in Italy and look forward to Paris as well, I can relive part of their splendid October 15 wedding day with some of the photos I promised…..better later than never!

Mount Victoria is one of the loveliest estates I have ever seen – the historical main house, several other buildings such as the Lodge, the Game House, etc., acres and acres of sprawling lawns and forest as far as the eye can see – every acre seems spectacular.

As you will see, no detail was too small or too large to be overlooked, from providing limo bus transport from the church and hotels to the reception, a small army of golf carts to bring guests from their cars to the house, from the house to the tent for dinner and back to their cars after the reception. And candles and lights – and security – everywhere!

Pure magic!

The building to the right of the tent for 200 guests housed six bathrooms, complete with amenities.

20161015_235314

Mount Victoria, the main house

20161016_000110

The grounds –

20161016_001258 20161016_000528 20161016_000446 20161016_000200

Oysters with our cocktails –

20161016_001018

Baskets of Pashmina shawls for the women when the sunset and it was chilly –

20161016_001142

The tent –

20161016_004524

The dance floor – 10 piece band with 4 singers –

20161016_004514

Tables –

20161016_004726

20161016_004720

20161016_004607

Personalized menus –

20161016_010657

Several shrub shaped like bunnies, Mark’s nickname for Lauren once upon a time…

20161016_021150

The happy couple – as their Dads pay tributes –

20161016_023636

 

A WEEKEND OF LOVE AND LAUGHTER, FAMILIES AND FRIENDSHIPS AND SHEER, UNADULTERATED MAGIC!

A WEEKEND OF LOVE AND LAUGHTER, FAMILIES AND FRIENDSHIPS AND SHEER, UNADULTERATED MAGIC!

I tried once during my stay in the Washington, D.C. area to post a column about the beautiful wedding and once in a lifetime reception that I attended in Maryland over the weekend but was thwarted at every turn. I had opted to travel only with my iPad, not my computer, for my brief stay in the U.S., choosing to write my column on the WordPress app but this turned out to be not an act of love but rather one of technological trauma.

No need for details here, except to say that when I exited the app for a second to ask advice of a colleague, the entire column just disappeared.

I arrived in D.C. on Thursday, October 13 and was taken immediately to La Plata, Maryland where many guests would be housed in one of two hotels, adjacent to each other, and relatively close to all the wedding venues.

The parents of the bride, my friends Mike and Laura Sullivan, with all they had to do, offered to make the long trek to Dulles Airport to pick me up but, as it turned out, Fr, Robert Golas, a friend of the Sullivans in a nearby parish, was to pick up a new car Thursday just seven miles from the Dulles and he offered to get me at Dulles.

It was a serendipitous encounter for Fr. Golas and I discovered we had common friendships – and favorite restaurants! – in Rome and after five minutes it seemed like we’d been friends for a long time, The same with Tina Raymond, a parishioner who, with her husband owns an area funeral home, accompanied Father to the airport.

Dinner Thursday was with the Sullivan clan and Mark Posey, the groom. Friday was the rehearsal dinner at the magnificent country home of David and Dana Posey. I saw a number of people I knew and was overjoyed in particular to see two friends from Madrid, Beatriz  and Paris De L’Etraz, also close friends of the Sullivans.  They flew in Friday and left again for Spain on Sunday! It was a magical evening and I felt like I was living a dream, as you will see from the photos.

20161015_003116

20161015_003426_1

20161015_003214

20161015_003132

20161015_003625

Lauren Sullivan and Mark Posey were married on October 15 at the very beautiful, intimate and historic Chapel of St. Francis de Sales located on the Potomac in Southern Maryland. This lovely chapel was built in 1908 specifically for a wedding and has been used for that purpose many times over the last 108 years, as well as for 8am Sunday morning Mass between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I’m still not sure how they did it but most of the 200 wedding guests made it into the chapel. I was able to take several photos of the Lauren and Mark and Cardinal McCarrick, the main celebrant, along with Fathers Ed Filardi and Robert Golas.

20161015_231714

20161015_223407

20161015_223645

20161015_223824

20161015_231651

20161015_231734

The Sullivans had arranged for a limo bus (the bus next to the bridal limo in the above photo) to transport the hotel guests to and from various venues over the two days of festivities. As you can see it was more like a mobile discoteque!

20161015_205245

20161015_205858

Our friends from Madrid, Beatriz and Paris –

20161015_211126_lls 20161015_210940_lls

I’ll bring you pictures of the indescribably spectacular and over-the-top reception tomorrow so stay tuned.