Ceremony & Spirituality: compromises and understanding

As I briefly mentioned in the last post, Mr. A and I will be holding our wedding ceremony at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Superior, Wisconsin. I grew up Catholic and, because I have family in Superior, I have attended mass at St. Francis throughout my entire life. For me, this church has special meaning- not only because of it’s familiarity and beautiful interior, but also because this is the site where my parents & grandparents were married. I view St. Francis church as more than just a physical location- it is a part of my heritage.

The inside of St. Francis- beautiful! Photo credit: *Jeff* from Flickr

Reading above, it sounds like the decision to have our wedding ceremony at that church was an easy one- right? Well….it was and it wasn’t. The thing is, Mr. A is not Catholic or really religious in any way. Don’t get me wrong, he is a spiritual guy- he just doesn’t subscribe to any particular religion. Oddly enough, until the time came for us to get married we had never really discussed our spiritual differences- even though we had been dating for SIX years! When we finally did take time for the conversation, it was hard. I can’t speak for Mr.A, but for me the most difficult aspect was reconciling what I believed with what he believed- particularly since, in this instance, our disparate beliefs aren’t the type that like to really co-exist.

But we did it. We eventually got to a place where we each understood each other and respected our differences.

Which still leaves the question: how did we end up decided on a wedding ceremony to be held in a Catholic Church?

At one point, we considered having a lakeside ceremony with one of our friends serving as the officiant. Photo is credited to Shannon Porter Photography.

While we were still in the “deciding where to get married” phase of planning, we made an appointment to meet with the priest at St. Francis for a short consultation. I was SO nervous going into the meeting and had a million questions running through my mind.
–  What if the ceremony options the priest gave us were too “Catholic” for Mr.A?
– What if the whole thing just made Mr.A uncomfortable?
– What if the whole thing just felt too impersonal, and not “us”?
– What if the priest simply refused to marry an inter-faith couple? (This is a somewhat common occurrence in Catholic churches.)

As you can guess, none of these fears came true! The priest (Father Jim) was 100% fine with our different spiritual beliefs and respected that we wanted the ceremony to be meaningful to both of us. Mr.A and I left the meeting feeling like Father Jim knew we didn’t want a boilerplate Catholic ceremony; we were very reassured that Father Jim meant to take time to get to know us and our preferences so that the ceremony could be personalized and have the “tone” we were looking for.

After our meeting Mr.A commented that Father Jim seems like a community leader and role model in addition to serving as a spiritual advisor. And this is exactly what were we looking for in an officiant; a community leader who emulates many of the qualities we strive for (good communication, honestly, kindness, etc) and who can bring our family & friends together to help witness and celebrate our wedding.

How did you decide on your ceremony plans? Any other interfaith couples out there that had to use compromise & understanding in making your decisions? 🙂


About annlili

ecofreak. wino. explorer. small feet.
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