Jul252014
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Holy Union Example Provided by Bill, Dignity/San Jose, CA

Welcome

Good evening and welcome. Thanks for being with us this day to celebrate and participate in this wonderful and very special occasion. I am(presider name), a lay minister of Dignity/San Jose, a local chapter of DignityUSA, an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their friends, families and loved ones. I appreciate the invitation of (name #1) and (name #2) to serve as a lay presider and to be with all of you on this very important day of their lives.

(Music — as party enters area)

Why we are gathered

My sisters and brothers, we are gathered to witness, celebrate and affirm the joining together of (name #1) and (name #2) in a holy union as partners in life. Trusting in the Word of God that "Where two or more are gathered together in my name, I am in their midst," we come together in confidence and prayer to ask God's blessing on the joined and personal lives of (name #1) and (name #2) as they freely enter a bond of a loving, living relationship of shared commitment. (name #1) and (name #2) number you among their family of friends, and have invited you to share the loving joy of this milestone in their lives. They want it to be a happy, joyous occasion, not only for themselves, but also for you.

Recognizing their spiritual, social and physical relationship as wholesome and good, they wish to acknowledge God's enriching presence in their lives by proclaiming and solemnizing their union as life partners. This holy union is a joyful celebration and thanksgiving for the gifts God has given them. (name #1) and (name #2) invited you to be with them today and chose this ceremony to be an outward sign of their mutual love and a source of encouragement to the gay and lesbian community for the establishment and respect of similar relationships of commitment.

This will not be a home or Nuptial Mass. Nor will there be consecrated bread and wine. I will serve as presider of this prayer and liturgical service. All of you are encouraged to actively participate in this celebration. As with a Nuptial Mass and wedding, the couple freely enters into a contract with each other. (name #1) and (name #2) will exchange their vows of love and commitment to each other.

Opening Prayer

Let us take a few moments to quiet and center ourselves in God's presence and in prayer.

(pause)

And so we begin with the sign of the Cross.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

We express our beliefs as Christians by praying AMEN at the conclusion.

We believe in God, Creator of the universe, of all humanity and all about us. We believe in Jesus Christ, God made flesh, who lovingly taught and redeemed us by his life, death and resurrection, and left us the Eucharist as a living memorial. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, who dwells amongst us and guides us to the truth. We believe that we are brothers and sisters of and in Jesus Christ, created in God's image and likeness, and share in God's unconditional love. Lord, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and trusting in your word, we come together in confidence and pray that you be with us this day and at these moments. Look into our minds and hearts and recognize the love that is there as we join in the celebration of life and the bonding of our brothers (name #1) and (name #2) in a loving partnership. We pray this through Christ Our Lord. AMEN.

A Reflection on Love (from works of the humanist poet and writer Walter Rinder)

"Spectrum of Love" by Walter Rinder

"I love you."

There is a much greater motivation than simply my spoken words.

For me, to love is to commit myself freely and without reservation. I am sincerely interested in your happiness and well being. Whatever your needs are, I will try to fulfill them and will bend in my values depending on the importance of your need. If you are lonely and need me, I will be there. If in that loneliness you need to talk; I will listen. If you need to listen, I will talk. If you need the strength of human touch, I will touch you. If you need to be held, I will hold you. I will lie naked in body with you if that be your need. If you need fulfillment of the flesh I will give that also, but only through my love.

I will try to be constant with you so that you will understand the core of my personality and from that understanding you can gain strength and security that I am acting as me. I may falter with my moods. I may project, at times, a strangeness that is alien to you, which may bewilder or frighten you. There will be times when you question my motives. But because people are never constant and are as changeable as the seasons, I will try to build up within you a faith in my fundamental attitude and show you that my inconsistency is only for the moment and not a lasting part of me. I will show you love now. Each and every day, for each day is a lifetime. Every day we live, we learn more how to love. I will not defer my love nor neglect it, for if I wait until tomorrow, tomorrow never comes. It is like a cloud in the sky, passing by. They always do, you know!

If I give you kindness and understanding, then I will receive your faith. If I give hate and dishonesty, I will receive your distrust. If I give you fear and am afraid, you will become afraid and fear me. I will give to you what I need to receive.

To what degree (amount) I give love is determined by my own capability. My capability is determined by the environment of my past existence and my understanding of love, truth and God. My understanding is determined by my parents, friends, places I have lived and been. All experiences that have fed into my mind from living.

I will give you as much love as I can. If you will show me how to give more, then I will give more. I can only give as much as you need to receive or allow me to give. If you receive all I can give, then my love is endless and fulfilled. If you receive a portion (part) of my love, then I will give others the balance I am capable of giving. I must give all that I have, being what I am

Love is universal. Love is the movement of life. I have loved a boy, a girl, my parents, art, nature. All things in life I find beautiful. No human being or society has the right to condemn any kind of love I feel or my way of expressing it, if I am sincere, sincerity being the honest realization of myself and there is no hurt or pain intentionally involved in my life or any life my life touches.

I want to become a truly loving spirit. Let my word, if I must speak, become a restoration of your soul. But when speech is silent, does a man project the great depth of his sensitivity. When I touch you, or kiss you, or hold you, I am saying a thousand words.

Prayer of invocation

As I pray to invoke God's blessings on the couple as they exchange vows, I invite each of you in the quiet of yourself and in your own way, also pray that God will bless (name #1) and (name #2) and their intentions.

Dear God, we pray that you look into the minds and hearts of your sons and our brothers (name #1) and (name #2) and see their love for you and each other. Find their intentions to join together in this holy union and commitment to each other are founded on Christian love and a depth of love and affection for each other. Understand that they have seriously considered what they are about to do in their exchange of vows.

Brothers and sisters, as the couple exchange vows you will be invited to participate in this ceremony by responding to the opening and closing questions with the words "We do" and "We will," respectively.

Exchange of Vows and Rings

Friends of (name #1) and (name #2), do you affirm their free choice of this holy union and joining as partners in life?

We do.

In the presence of God, loved ones and loving friends, do you, (name #1), take (name #2) to be your spouse and partner in life, to have and to hold, to love and cherish in joy and sorrow, for better or worse, in health and sickness, and in good as well as difficult times?

I do.

Do you promise to respect (name #2)'s spirituality and human dignity and the spirituality and dignity of this holy union to the best of your ability?

I do.

Do you promise to do your best to promote and be responsive to ongoing dialogue to enrich this holy union and to quickly search out ways of mutual reconciliation as the need arises?

I do.

In the presence of God, loved ones and loving friends, do you, ( name #2), take ( name #1) to be your spouse and partner in life, to have and to hold, to love and cherish in joy and sorrow, for better or worse, in health and sickness, and in good as well as difficult times? I do.

Do you promise to respect (name #1)'s spirituality and human dignity and the spirituality and dignity of this holy union to the best of your ability?

I do.

Do you promise to do your best to promote and be responsive to ongoing dialogue to enrich this holy union and to quickly search out ways of mutual reconciliation as the need arises?

I do.

Brothers, sisters and friends of (name #1) and (name #2) will you honor, respect and encourage them in their relationship of commitment?

We will.

Blessing and exchange of rings

Water is a symbol of life and nourishment. At Baptism, water is used in the cleansing away of sin and in the inauguration of our life with Jesus Christ. A circle is used as a sign of unity. The rings to be exchanged are symbols of unity of purpose and a mutual commitment of supportive love as partners in life. We use this holy water and ask that God will bless the couple.

Loving God and Brother Jesus Christ, with this holy water, we pray that you bless (name #1) and (name #2) in their commitment of loving support and affirmation towards each other. We pray that the Spirit will always be with them and give them the strength and courage to fulfill their shared vows of commitment to each other in a living partnership.

We pray that you will bless them in their individual and shared lives with your blessings of love, joy, inner peace and genuine happiness. May their lives and loving partnership be further extensions of your love in our community.

Symbolic Ceremony of Unity of Purpose

(Name #1) and (name #2) have chosen to express their commitment, solidarity and unity of purpose by a Unity Candle Ceremony. They symbolically merge the light and warmth of their individual lives into a living and loving partnership in a shared journey -- two separate candles of light and lives become as one light and life in the sight of God and humanity.

Exchange of Feelings and Sentiments

(Name #1) and (name #2) exchange sentiments towards each other.

Community prayer - a symbol of unity and a calling of God's love on the couple

All join hands and pray the Lord's Prayer.

A symbol of reconciliation, joy, and loving family - exchange of the Kiss of Peace

Brief closing prayer and remarks

As we leave this celebration today, let us remember that we are Christ for one another in our daily lives. Remember (name #1) and (name #2)in your prayers. Be supportive of them in their personal lives and in their partnership in life.

God of the Universe, we your children thank you for gathering us together to celebrate this holy union of our brothers (name #1) and (name #2). Thank you for giving us this day and being present with us. Be with us daily and help us do your will by being sensitive towards our sisters and brothers. Guide us to be channels of your peace and reconciliation as we go forth and be Christ for one another. This we pray through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

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