Two by two, they vowed “I do.”
A most sacred day—that of becoming husband and wife—was solemnly shared by 17 couples at a nuptial Mass offered in Spanish at St. John the Evangelist in White Plains.
Father Pablo Gonzalez, pastor of St. Rita of Cascia and St. Pius V parish in the Bronx, served as principal celebrant of the April 22 liturgy. Father Thomas Kallumady, pastor of St. John the Evangelist and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, was a concelebrant.
A husband and wife should look to the cross as a guide for their marriage, Father Gonzalez said in his homily. Jesus, he continued, is the one, true and unconditional love they need and the model on whom they should pattern their relationship.
“Vows are serious promises to one another,” Father Gonzalez said. “You must love like Jesus, forgive like Jesus, because through our faith we give of ourselves and that is true love.”
The brides and grooms, some of whom had their children in their bridal party, took part in the parish’s St. Rita of Cascia program, which provides those in partnerships the opportunity to be married in the Church after receiving traditional PreCana marriage classes.
St. Rita of Cascia, patroness of difficult marriages, was a saint of the 14th century who was widowed before becoming an Augustinian nun.
Among the brides and grooms were Yamile Sarmiento and Leonidas Molina. The newlyweds, who live in White Plains, are originally from Colombia. After 17 years together, the couple decided to be married in the Church for the sake of their three children.
“We are thrilled and feel very fortunate to be here receiving God’s blessing,” Molina said. “We wanted to be examples to our children in following Christ, and having this ceremony in His house was long overdue for us, but it’s never too late to turn to God and to have Him in your life.”
Manuel Mendoza, coordinator of the St. Rita of Cascia program, said his motivation in helping other married couples came from his and his wife Mery’s own experience as newlyweds. “The first year of our marriage was not easy; in fact, it was a very difficult time for us. We were both young, my wife had a miscarriage, we were going through economic issues as well, but through our strong faith we overcame that time in our lives.”
Mendoza credited the pastoral guidance of Father Kallumady for helping make the St. Rita of Cascia program a success. “Also, I feel what makes this a beautiful event is not only the decorations and how everyone is dressed in their elegant clothes, but it’s how we are all here together as one family,” he said. “It’s really a reflection of how close-knit we all are and how much we care for one another in this parish.”
After the Saturday afternoon ceremony, a reception was held on the parish grounds. Catering, floral arrangements and a wedding cake were all made possible through donations from local merchants, monetary donations from parishioners, fund-raisers and raffles.