Post # 1
So Fiance and I really love the idea of a stone blessing ceremony. We would probably use lake Erie beach glass and would be collecting them in a vase of some kind to keep.
However, I wonder if this is even possible with a CathOlin wedding? Would we still have to do a unity candle or would the stone ceremony suffice? When might it happen?
So many questions.. Any help greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
I would ask your priest because every one is different in what they would allow. We had a full catholic mass and they were pretty rigid (naturally because it is a mass) in what they would allow us to do and to change.
Post # 4
@linsoid: Depending on your diocese/bishop, the unity candle may not even be allowed. I’m up in Madison, WI, and we aren’t allowed to have one at Mass. (pretty sure, too, that it’s diocese-wide and not just our parish.) If we wanted to do one, it would be at the reception.
You would need to think about what the symbolism is that you’re trying to convey, explain it to the priest, and see if there’s a coherent way to fit it in with what’s happening in the liturgy. With a unity candle, the problem is that using a candle to represent the couple’s new life together muddles an already-existing symbol (the Paschal Candle, symbolic of Christ, the Light) and overlaps with another (the exchange of vows and rings. Some churches will allow a unity candle to be lit at the end of the wedding, before the recessional – the couple’s individual candles should be lit from the Paschal candle and should not be extinguished after the unity candle is lit, because you continue to exist as individuals even while you create something new together.
Anyhow. All that aside: what would the stones symbolize? I’m not familiar with this ritual. Is there a liturgical significance to it, or is it purely personal? If there’s not really a liturgical significance to it and if you’re getting married with a full nuptial Mass, your priest might discourage or forbid it because Mass is the public prayer of the church, so what happens there needs to be connected to the rite of worship. I know that in some dioceses where they don’t allow the use of unity candles at Mass, they suggest that you can do a “lighting of the candle” as a way of formally opening the wedding reception. Would something like that be an option for your stone ceremony?
I know one thing you could explore, by the way: a lot of Catholic weddings include bringing a bouquet of flowers and laying it in front of the Mary statue. Usually you have a piece of music playing for it, and take a moment or two to pray with your spouse. We are planning on doing this and also giving a rose to our mothers at this point. Would there be a way to work your stones idea into that? Since I’m not sure how the stone ceremony works, I don’t know if it’s workable, but, just thinking on the fly here … maybe have members of your family/the bridal party offer a silent prayer or blessing as they place a stone in a nice glass vase or jar, and then place a long-stemmed rose or a small bouquet, etc., in the jar and place it in front of the Mary statue?
Post # 5
A stone blessing ceremony is fairly simple and has no religious significance. Each person is given a stone, or a piece of beach glass in my case, as they walk in or with the programs. They hold the glass throughout the ceremony and it is filled with their warm wishes, blessings and wonderful thoughs for the bride and groom. At a point in the ceremony, the guests are asked to silently pass their blessings and well wishes onto the stone. In some cases the stones are tossed into the sea. In our case I would prefer they be collected into a vase of some kind for us to keep.
We would not likely be having a full mass at our wedding, If thathelps.
Post # 6
We aren’t allowed to have a unity candle at ours, I don’t think they’d let you do this, but it’s really up to the individual church.
Post # 7
I am not catholic, but I think the stone idea is really beautiful, and I hope at least you’ll be able to do something similar at your reception if it’s not possible in the church.
Post # 8
@linsoid: Hmm … if it has no religious significance, your best bet might be to ask if you can have them collected in a vase that you use for presenting flowers to Mary, and then retrieve the vase after the service. If you have a more progressive priest he would probably be okay with it, a more conservative one may say no. And you’d have to decide if you’d be okay with altering the ceremony that way, for yourselves, since it’s probably a bit different from what you envisioned.
Alternatively, you could ask people to pick up a stone on the way in to the reception (maybe this is an opportunity to create a wedding-day responsibility for a friend/someone in your family who wants to be involved and you don’t yet have anything for them to do? They could be a “stone attendant” and explain to guests what the stones are for), and then work it in there somehow?
Best of luck figuring out how to incorporate it!
Post # 9
Your best bet is to talk to your priest about it. Explain the significance and why you want it. It’s their call if they allow it. Like a PP said, a lot of churches don’t even let you have unity candles; there is no religious foundation for them. Some of the more liberal churches may be okay with it, but a lot still won’t allow any modifications to the traditional marriage ceremony.
Post # 10
Thanks everyone for the helpful advice! I’ll speak with the priest but we will possibly work it into the reception if he won’t allow it for the ceremony! 🙂