I celebrated the wedding of Rachel Chaikin and Gerry Guzman at the La Mesa Community Center near San Diego on Saturday. The ceremony and reception took place at the same location which was convenient and allowed for a very relaxed atmosphere. The ceremony took place overlooking a distant baseball field (Gerry and Rachel are avid softball players) and all of La Mesa. The day was sunny and a cool breeze ensured the comfort of Rachel and Gerry’s many guests.
When they contacted me through Great Officiants, I learned that Gerry is Catholic and Rachel is Jewish. The traditional Order of Celebrating Matrimony between a Catholic and a non-Christian in the Roman Rite does not acknowledge or celebrate the Jewish partner’s faith or heritage so I wanted to write a ceremony just for the them that was truly Catholic, maintaining all the traditional and necessary elements of the the Rite of Marriage, but which also explicitly celebrated Rachel’s rich Jewish heritage and faith.
To accomplish this, I reworked some of the language of the traditional rite. For example when Gerry placed the ring on his wife’s finger he said: “Rachel, behold you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the Law of Moses and Israel.” When Rachel placed the ring on her husband’s finger she said, “Gerry, behold you are consecrated to me with this ring in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In this way, each of the spouses acknowledged the faith and heritage of the other. I inserted a Kiddush which included the Sheva Brachot. Since Catholicism is descended from Judaism, there are many, many ritual similarities including the use of wine in liturgy so it seemed natural to include this tradition which is remarkably similar, though not identical in each faith. By the way, as a Catholic priest, I almost always use Maneshewitz when I celebrate Mass and it always reminds me of my faith’s Jewish roots. I sang the blessing over the wine in Hebrew and Rachel and Gerry shared from the cup in the presence of their families and friends before Gerry broke a glass beneath his feet and I presented them as husband and wife to their guests.