Love was all around: 9 couples brought into communion with Church at nuptial Mass


Edgar Tellez and Ruth Prado of St. Brendan & St. George Parish in Clifton felt uncomfortable at Mass when their children asked, “Why don’t you receive Holy Commu-nion?”

The couple was married civilly but never in the Catholic Church. Tellez and Prado couldn’t receive the Eucharist at Mass. They attended regular Mass but were ashamed they couldn’t be the best examples of faith possible to their four children.

That changed on May 11, when Tellez and Prado married in St. Brendan & St. George Parish Church in a communal ceremony with eight other Spanish-speaking immigrant couples. It was a sight to behold. The couples took up the front of the altar from end to end. One after the other, the brides, ranging from young adults to seniors, processed down the aisle in white to a church packed with family and friends. The communal nuptial Mass — a first for the parish — was celebrated in Spanish.

“Our wedding was beautiful. Ruth looked perfect,” said Tellez, originally from Mexico. “Now, we are right with God and can receive the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, at Mass.”

Prado, who came from Peru, said their wedding day was “different and happier” than their first.

“Now, we have God’s blessing. We are happier as a family. It was good for the kids to see our wedding,” Prado said.

St. Brendan & St. George’s communal ceremony grew out of its Pastoral Family Ministry, an outreach to Hispanic families. Couples meet twice monthly to share the joys and challenges of their relationships and family. Father Milton Camargo, the parish’s parochial vicar, who helps moderate the group, suggested in recent years that member couples — some who have never married — pursue Catholic nuptials. The nine most recent couples agreed and joined together for pre-Cana marriage prep at the meetings. Before the weddings, some members had to receive sacraments, such as baptism, first Holy Communion, and confirmation.

“The sacrament of marriage changes the way couples live as Christians. It lets them begin to experience the holiness and joy of heaven here on earth,” Father Camargo said. He celebrated the Mass, which was concelebrated by Father Jesus Peralta, St. Brendan & St. George’s pastor. “The couples also understand what it means to be Catholic. Now, they can teach that to their children.”

Couples in the group and their children have gotten involved in St. Brendan & St. George’s ministries. They pray together more as a family. The couples have become friends. Some of them plan to mentor six couples preparing to marry at the parish next year. The Pastoral Family Ministry grew from a project Nelly Tantas, a parishioner, developed while studying for her Certificate in Catholic Evangelization. Tantas, her husband, and other members have led the group with Father Camargo.

Jose Urena and Maria Ventura from the Dominican Republic were another couple who married at St. Brendan & St. George’s on May 11. They had wed civilly and have three children.

“We felt happy in the presence of God. Now, we love going to church more,” Maria said.


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