When we were writing our wedding ceremony there were precious few resources for inter-religious (Hindu/Catholic) ceremonies like we wanted ours to be: something that embraced centuries-old traditions that our parents taught us to respect while also speaking to us as two people living in 2011, which also addressed the big sore spot of marriage inequality in a dignified way without making our wedding a gay rights rally (as much as we love gay rights rallies). This is what we came up with and it couldn’t have gone any better. My favorite parts were when our friends sang and played the songs and poems we picked, the Hindu tradition of the married women from the maternal side of my family putting vermillion powder in the part of my hair, and also the Catholic tradition of Intercessions (where a friend states specific prayers aloud for the group to hear and affirm), and of course stating our vows to each other in front of our friends and family. I added all the readings and linked to the songs below. It took about 50 minutes in total, a reasonable amount of time methinks. We also had a donation to the Human Rights Campaign as an option in our wedding registry.
Performed by Maureen Ayers Looby and Red Fabbri
Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.
“Love” by Rabindranath Tagore
Song “Ave Maria,” by Franz Schubert
Performed by Maureen Ayers Looby and Michael Leukam
1 Corinthians 12:31-13.8a
Read by Tulin Sezer
Reading and Reflection
Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8-6-7a
Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.
[I hear] the voice of my beloved!
Look, how he comes, leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking
through the lattice. My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise my love, my
fair one, and come away.”
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see
your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is
My beloved is mine and I am his.
Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
Marriage Rites Pundit Ravi Tiwari
*Hindu marriages can take anywhere from 3 to 7 hours. We culled it down to this, and the Pundit had 15 minutes to get it done.
The couple exchange garlands, signifying the union of two bodies and two souls into one entity, and their mutual acceptance of one another.
The bride is given away by her parents.
Gath Bandhan & Mangel Phere (Circling the fire)
The bride and groom are joined by tying together a corner of their outer garments, symbolizing the bond of marriage. After this a small open fire is lit and God is invited to witness the marriage. The four pheras symbolize the four goals of married life: Dharma, to remain true to one’s beliefs and values; Artha, to provide for one’s family; Kama, to obtain emotional and physical fulfillment; and Moksha, to achieve enlightenment and liberation
Sapta Padi (The Seven Sacred Steps):
The seven steps are the most important part of the ceremony. Prayers are recited as the couple walks the seven steps together, symbolizing that they are now lifelong friends who share the same aspirations:
Together we will share the responsibility of home and family.
Together we will develop mental, physical, and spiritual strength.
Together we will prosper and share our worldly goods.
Together we will fill our hearts with great joy, peace, and happiness.
Together we will raise strong and virtuous children.
Together we will remain faithful and life-long partners.
Together we will cherish each other and our families in sorrow and happiness.
Sindoor is vermilion powder. After the above pledges are made, the dulha applies sindoor to the forehead of his dulhan. He puts places the powder in the parting of her hair. This is the traditional mark of the Hindu married woman. Then the married women from the bride’s maternal family put Sindoor in her hair.
Once the wedding rituals have been completed, the couple touches the feet of their parents and elders to ask for their blessings.
Exchange of Vows & Rings (I’m not going to print them here)
Intercessions Read by Red Fabbri
*after each prayer the group, usually a congregation but in this case just our friends and family at our wedding, responds with ‘Lord, hear our prayer.’ It is quite moving and it is my favorite part of any Catholic mass. This is also where we chose to acknowledge things we hope the world will change.
Please respond with “Lord hear our prayer.”
For Namrata and Patrick, that their marriage be filled with love, patience and humor, and that they may be a lifelong source of fulfillment and happiness for each other. Let us Pray.
For their families and friends, who came here today to share in their joy. May they continue to bless others with the support and wisdom they have shown to Namrata and Patrick throughout their lives. Let us Pray.
For those who couldn’t be here today and loved ones who have passed away, especially N.K. Singh, Kusum Singh, and Brian and Betty McGroarty. Let us Pray.
For those unable to publicly express their love through marriage, that society will cherish the willingness of two adults to make a lifelong commitment to one another. Let us pray.
For captives of poverty and war, disease and discrimination. That our leaders will seek to lessen their burdens, and that each of us work for a more compassionate world. Let us Pray.
Nuptial Blessing and
Presentation of the couple Rev. Gregory Kalscheur, S.J.
Recessional “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”* by Jatin-Lali
*we needed some Bollywood, hello??
wedding photos by bryan newfield