26 November 2007

Nuptial Mass, 17th November 2007
St. Paul the Apostle Church, Los Angeles

Preludes: Duruflé, Veni Creator Spiritus; J.S. Bach, Liebster Jesu
Procession of the priest: Introit, Deus Israel
Procession of the wedding party: J.G. Walther, Concerto del Sigr. Albinoni mvt. 1
Kyrie: Palestrina, Missa Assumpta est Maria
Gradual: Uxor tua
Alleluia: Mittat vobis
Offertory: Duruflé, Ubi caritas
Sanctus: Missa Cum Jubilo (Mass IX)
Agnus Dei: Palestrina, Missa Assumpta est Maria
Communion: Palestrina, Surge propera amica mea
Recessional: Walther, Concerto del Sigr. Albinoni mvt. 3

Reception music: Andy Cooney Band.

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the blog, CatholicNerd and I got married a little over a week ago. Lizzy is the maid of honor that you see in the fetching red dress. The Mass was chanted in English by a friend of ours from Spokane who did a wonderful job. It could only have been more perfect if it had been ad orientem (not possible with that altar because of steps right in front of it), if the choir had been a little more delicate with the Palestrina pieces, and if the parish wedding coordinator had let us have altar candles rather than asymmetrically-arranged floor candles (the wedding coordinator is the American manifestation of Dolores Umbridge; seriously, she's evil and her office is pink). It was beautiful, though, and touched the hearts of many of our non-Catholic guests, and many of the Catholic guests as well. I hope some of them came away with ideas of what Catholic marriage is, and what the liturgy is about.

The priest said it was the most beautiful wedding he'd witnessed in his thirty years of ministry, not because of the music alone--he's done chanted wedding Masses before--but because of the attitude of the people involved. He gave a beautiful homily relating marriage to the liturgy. I wouldn't say we're great friends with that priest, but he understands us and our particular brand of piety in a profound way, and his homily reflected that. I can't remember all of the last sentence of his homily, but I do remember the very last words--his resonant baritone voice boomed out, "...be like God."

People told me I wouldn't hear a note of the music after I started down the aisle. To the contrary, I heard the choirs warming up, I heard the introit chanted beautifully, I heard the organist's articulation, I heard the sopranos be screechy on the Kyrie, I saw the soloist's hands tremble as he held his music for the gradual verse, I heard the second reader consistently sing descending fourths instead of thirds. I heard the priest chanting the Roman canon, and delighted to hear the names of the saints even as I worried about my groom's knees giving out ("nobody kneels here," so the wedding coordinator wouldn't let us have a prie dieu--we knelt anyway, on the bare marble floor). I noticed a lot of things. I was very calm.

I wasn't calm when I got up that morning. I woke up at 3am and couldn't fall asleep again because I felt sick. I paced my apartment for three hours trying not to be sick, was sick at 6am anyway, and gave up and took a shower at 6:30. By 7 my maid of honor and "honorary bridesmaid" were awake, too, and they told jokes and calmed me down enough to eat a bit of breakfast before heading to the hotel where my mother would help me dress and do my hair. I saw CatholicNerd in the lobby just before we left for the church, and he looked wonderful. I guess I didn't look too bad, judging from the look on his face. We were both pretty comfortable by the time we got to the church, making jokes in the sacristy with the altar servers and the priest.

The Mass was solemn, and the reception was a hell of a party. We Catholics know about juxtapositions like that; solemnity loses its savor if you're always solemn, and the sweetness of rejoicing becomes cloying if you have no solemnity to balance it with--it would be like eating cake all the time. The reception was all the better because the Mass was solemn (good food, wine, music, and a large-ish crowd help, too).

We honeymooned in San Diego, and had two bits of Catholic nerdity--on Sunday morning we went to the local Extraordinary Use Mass at 9am (yes, 9am the day after the wedding), which happens to be in a cemetary chapel. On Wednesday as we returned to LA from San Diego, we visited Missions San Diego de Alcala, San Luis Rey de Francia, and San Juan Capistrano. We've vowed to do a novena of visiting missions--nine missions in 90 days--to pray for each other and for a good and fruitful marriage. (No, I've never heard of anyone doing such a novena before--we just made it up.)

Oh, and I bought my first chapel veil in the gift shop at San Juan Capistrano. It's black. I won't wear it all the time, because it would make me a distraction to people at my usual parish, but I'll have it for places where wearing a veil is more common, and that makes me happy.

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