The church of San Pedro Apostol in San Pedro houses the miraculous cross (Krus ng Tunasan San Pedro) Rizal mentioned in his Noli. I’m not sure how many traditional wedding was held here since the 50’s (the decade where we adapted the commercialist wedding we copied from the Americans). Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever attended a traditional Catholic wedding. It was symbolic and highly ritualistic. The rite they followed was that of Toledo. This is historically accurate because we never had the Roman wedding rite.
It was a personally gratifying moment, not only because both the groom and the bride are close friends but because I advocate bringing such traditions back. I’ve always believe that reintroducing Filipinos to old religious customs and practices would only strengthened their historical awareness. True enough, right after the wedding, while I was chatting with the priest near the church’s central door, a lady approached him inquiring about what she just witnessed.
Remember that the Church was central in old Filipino everyday life up until mid 1900’s. Life then was supernatural, spirituality precedes everything. Materialist attitudes would come much later, when everything started to have commercial value. Much was lost in the last one hundred years. And I believe part of our soul, the meaning and being of our identity, was lost too.
The ritualistic wedding confused many of the couples guests. This is understandable as most were accustomed to the more casual and modern Catholic weddings. Traditional weddings are full with symbolism, songs, prayers and rites. There’s no you-may-kiss-the-bride (which confused the guests more!). Tradition dictates that the altar is the gate to the Heavens. Actions and gestures made in front of it must be respectful of the early Father’s practices. The changes made after the Vatican II has been abused by many. There has been an abundance of interpretations and creativity when it comes to rites like the wedding.
I remember my Father’s stories about the Tridentine Mass, how he found it strange and boring. As a impressionable boy, I imagined it to be. In college, I started researching about the old Mass. There, I uncovered the truths that was so alien to me. During the modest gathering that took place right after the wedding, I delivered a speech dedicated to the couple and to the traditions of the old Filipino Church.
Viva La Santa Iglesia Catolica y Apostilica Romana!! Mabuhay ang bagong kasal!