Wedding And Funerals
Wedding And Funerals
Leo Philomin (Oblate Priest) gives expert video advice on: Do you get depressed if you have lots of funerals to do?; Has anyone ever objected to a marriage during the ceremony?; Have you ever had any fainting brides or grooms? and more...
What is the significance of a Catholic funeral?
Firstly, the significance of a funeral is to acknowledge someone that you've loved who has died, and to bury someone in a dignified way. Within a Catholic funeral, it's to bring out the dignity of the person. A Catholic funeral recognizes that in baptism, as an infant or as an adult. That person has become a temple of God's spirit, so the body has been a dwelling place of God. In death it's reverenced. In actual fact, the ending ceremony of the funeral rite ends with the incensing of the body which is in the coffin, with holy water sprinkled on it, reminding them of the divinity that was dwelling in the person, even in us as a Christian today. Catholic funerals then bring a particular sense of hope, and any Christian funeral, not just Catholic, brings a sense of hope in the midst of that: hope that this is not the end, that whatever we see as a person before us in the coffin, that this relationship that we enjoyed with them in life will continue even in death. It continues with God, and we look forward to the day of the Resurrection when, in the resurrection of Christ we will see our loved ones who have gone before us. So Catholic funerals, Christian funerals really, are marked with the characteristic of hope, that it's not an end, that it's just like saying goodbye and we'll meet them again.
Do you get depressed if you have lots of funerals to do?
Here, thank goodness, we don't have so many funerals here in succession, it'd be about once a month. In Kilburn, we would have about three or four a week. What upsets me about them is that I can't give as much time to them as I would like to. That's what I would get upset over sometimes, and in order to cope with that - what we did in Kilburn - was that we set up some lay people as a bereavement group, there was about fifteen people involved. It was an ecumenical group also and they would then follow through with families. Because, we're on to the next funeral, sadly speaking. And, you can't really give that time that the person needs even after the funeral more so than before. So, the bereavement group continues that and that's a Christian outreach into the community, a need that's there. It is difficult, when you have funerals, when you have a lot of emotions to deal with. And, that's why I think my community is very important. The community is a place where I can say, "I'm not feeling great today, because I just had to listen to this sad story about a mother or a husband or someone who has died after a long illness." The community is there and listen, they listen to me. I can unburden whatever grief I'm carrying. And, it's important for us that we bring it to prayer. When we're in common prayer together, we would pray, very often, we would pray for families that we're accompanying. And, that in itself is about trusting that the Lord is doing the work. It is difficult, but then I need find ways of channeling that, those energies that I pick up, so that it doesn't drown me or get me down and depressed. I'm not a depressive person naturally so my thing is to make sure I'm in tune with the pain of the people, because I can be in tune with the joy and all that's great. Sometimes missing out on the pain that the person is having. So I need to make an effort to do that. And, sometimes the community will help me in that.
Can anyone get married in a Catholic church?
No. A catholic church will allow for a catholic person to be married in a catholic church where both the man and the woman are baptised and of catholic faith, but then there are exceptions to it, like as long as there is a catholic party involved they can get married in a catholic church. As long as they meet the conditions that they are free to marry, meaning they were not be married before, they want to persevere in the catholic faith, and that whoever they are marrying, especially if they are not catholic, then that person is willing to see the catholic partner leave their catholic faith, and also to bring up the children of that marriage in the catholic faith.
What do you need to do if you want to get married in a Catholic church?
First you go and you see your local parish priest. Normally you should give yourself about six months so that a lot of the paperwork that needs to be done can be done. You would need to produce your baptism certificate to show that you have been baptized Catholic. It's also a baptism certificate, a new one, not from when you were an infant, you have to get a renewed one. It shows whether you have been married before, and it gives you the freedom to marry. And then you need to do a marriage course. As a Catholic to be married in the Catholic church, you need to do a marriage course. There's marriage care that do lots of courses in different cities. And then with the baptism certificate and your marriage course done, you work with the priest who is going to be marrying you to fill in the right papers. If you're marrying someone who is not a Catholic then you need to get permission from the bishop or what we call a dispensation. So for all of those things you should give yourself six months and just start by going to the local parish priest.
Has anyone ever objected to a marriage during the ceremony?
No, noone's ever objected to a marriage. The only, if you say a slight objection to it, but not in a dramatic way, was well before the marriage took place, and was a young Catholic girl marrying a young Muslim chap. The Muslim chap was very open to her continuing her faith and everything else. I knew them for a year before they decided to get married. The father of the Muslim chap was very concerned that I would be blessing him and I would be doing prayers over him, and so had asked my promise that I will not be saying any prayers over his son or blessing him with the church or anything like that, and that if he had a hint that I was doing it, he would stop the marriage. So that was the only time that I had a threat of it, but it worked well.
Have you ever had any fainting brides or grooms?
Not at all fainting brides or grooms. I've had very nervous brides and grooms, and I've had one bridegroom particularly whose best man had plied him with brandy all morning to get his nerves calmed down, and who couldn't stand, or he was leaning and then eventually had to sit down at the ceremony. But it was embarrassing for him, I think. She found it a big laugh. Her parents probably didn't enjoy it too well. He was fine, eventually gave him a sip of water and everything else. But no one fainted and no one ran off or anything like that.