“We are going to have a wedding in the chapel!”

With these words, Cynthia Bach, Spiritual Care Advocate for St. Vincent de Paul, announced to me that two residents of the Central Arizona Shelter Service (CASS), had asked to be married. She also informed me that the couple needed a marriage license.

In a few days I met the young couple, Richard and Carol (names changed). We talked about their plans for their wedding. Having no income, they did not know how they could afford the $83 cost of a marriage license. I said to them that I would make sure they would have the money for the license.

The next day I met them in the office to give them the money order and to help them fill out the marriage license application which I had printed off the County Clerk’s website.

Meanwhile Cynthia and I met with the couple and worked out the details of the ceremony. Cynthia wanted to ensure the day would be special for them. The bride brought her dress to the meeting. Cynthia said she would find a veil, shoes, get a wedding cake and flowers for the occasion.

I worked on the order of the service and prepared the ceremony.

It was a nervous couple and friends who joined us in the Virginia G. Piper Chapel at St. Vincent de Paul building on the Human Service Campus.

I was joined by a good friend of the couple to welcome the couple and their party at the altar. He arranged the music to be played for the bridal march to be played over his MP3 player and a Bluetooth speaker. The couple exchanged their vows and rings. The groom’s service dog served as the ringbearer.

With much applause and celebrative cheers, the couple were pronounced husband and wife.

In the lobby area, the couple danced their first dance.

The bridal party and guests moved into the dining room for their meal. Cake was served by volunteers of St. Vincent de Paul.

A wedding is a wedding. Well, maybe not. The wedding ceremony brought a greater awareness of the presence of the chaplaincy to the campus.

On Sunday as I walked through the campus, many people who frequent the Human Service Campus recognized me as the chaplain who performed the ceremony. Many of the guests of the couple as well as the couple themselves attended the worship service.

Ronald Friesen © 2018