Today, our parish Church, San Jose here in La Trinidad, Benguet, had a mass and celebrated the Rite of Marriage for 69 couples. Yes, 69 couples thus; the celebration has been dubbed, “mass wedding”.
The mass wedding at San Jose Parish is actually a yearly offering in coordination with the Municipality La Trinidad and the Province of Benguet to allow couples to be married under their respective Christian sects without spending a lot for reception food, decorations, and reception venues; among other wedding expenses. It also gives couples who haven’t been married but are with children to be united under their Church. Mass weddings in our municipality are usually timed together with or as part of the yearly Adivay celebrations.
This year’s mass wedding at San Jose Parish started at 8:30AM and ended at 12:00NN. It was presided/officiated by six parish priests from various Parish Churches around Baguio and Benguet. After the mass wedding, there was also a mass baptism celebration for the couples’ children who weren’t baptized. About 46 children were baptized. The reception/lunch program started at 1:00PM. More than 800 people participated and were fed. The food was catered and was funded by the municipal government in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Bibles for the couples were also distributed at the reception — also funded by the municipal government.
As a volunteer working with San Jose Parish and who participated in this year’s mass wedding, I would say that this time, it was much more organized. This, I believe, was due to the lesser number of candidates for mass wedding (as opposed to last year’s 100) and the presence of six presiding priests (compared to last year’s four). Basically, everything was more manageable, although some problems still persisted, which one cannot really avoid since this affair involved a LOT of people.
Helping out and finding avenues where you can be useful in this event was extremely tiring! You have to look around, walk a lot, and be aware of what is going on. As I told one of our seniors, “To serve in this Church, one has to be Superman!” to which, she vigorously agreed. Oh well, at least 69 couples were united at long last.