In my first year as a priest I was asked if I would marry a local boy to an Irish girl. I asked them to come to see me. They arrived complete with the local Catholic priest. He was not then the friend he is today so I was a bit worried.
We talked through the wedding, discussed what they thought appropriate and then the bride said,
"We do want a nuptial mass though!"
The four of us looked carefully at each other....I gulped...it was not something I'd ever contemplated.
"Father , maybe you'd better conduct the mass"
"It's your church Jean" he said cheerfully....and winked!
Oh dear. I knew the church would be full, half of them Irish Catholics...."They do know I'm a woman? " I asked.
The good Father and I conducted the wedding together, sharing the prayers and the blessings and then came the mass.
As I prepared the altar he sat down and watched with interest.
Everyone in church came up to take the wafer and then stayed on for the wine , a novelty for the Irish half of the church.
Father came up to the altar rail, "Make it look good Jean " he said indicating that he was not accepting the wafer. I gave him a blessing. And all was well....Afterwards we joked on our arrival in the marquee .
"The priests are always first at the bar."
The couple still come to see us though they live in Ireland. The bride said on her last visit,
"We've told Father Fergal all about you Jean. Sure your a legend in Dublin."
We didn't dance but the joy was real and still echoes down the years. We could have danced!