Back in May, right before our trip to the USA for my brother's wedding, we were so blessed to be able to participate and sponsor the baptisms of nine of the children from our neighborhood ranging from 3 months old to 13 years old. It was such a joy to get to know these families, but so sad to hear the reason why they had not been able to baptize their children---they simply could not afford it. The couldn't afford the Church fee, the white gown, or the party that they thought they had to throw afterwards.
After convincing them that they didn't need the fancy gown or the big celebration afterwards, we began to collect all the necessary paperwork. While doing this, we found that the majority of the parents had never been married, not civilly nor in the Church, for the same reason---they simply could not afford it. Tradition here is that once you move in together and begin having children, you are considered husband and wife. And while that seems to satisfy most government requirements, it did not satisfy these couples. These women dreamed, as most of us girls do, of having nice, big church wedding. I knew right then what God was calling us to do---sponsor a mass wedding.
Those of us married know how tough marriage can be. It is even tougher when you don't have the graces that come with the Sacrament of Marriage. I knew that God was asking us to not only sponsor this wedding, but to mentor these couples, to help them put God first in their marriages, to help them lead each other to Heaven. And that's exactly what our parish priest asked us to do. We will do a marriage prep seminar before the wedding ceremony and then have some follow up sessions afterwards. And eventually try to get a couples' bible study going at the parish.
As of today, we have 11 couples seeking to be officially married in the Church on July 5, 2014. That's right 11 brides and less than a month of planning---paperwork, licenses, dresses, flowers, reception, and cake! Thankfully, a mass wedding like this was done here last year in a neighboring village, and I have the help of some seasoned missionaries! But we need your help too!
We need prayer partners for the couples as well as financial sponsors for each one. The entire celebration will only cost about $150 per couple! That includes renting a beautiful gown, buying each bride a bouquet, and having one large reception with individual wedding cakes for each couple. Not a bad deal, huh?
If you'd like to sponsor a couple, please visit our FMC donation page and make a one time donation of $150 with "Philippine Wedding" typed in the comment box. Be sure to include your email address. We will send you the name of your sponsored couple so that you can begin to pray for them. We will also send you a picture of the couple on their wedding day.
If you are unable to fully sponsor a couple, you can still make a donation online. As with any wedding, there will be "surprise" costs that pop up as we get closer to the wedding, therefore, any amount will be a great blessing to these couples.
Meet the couples here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.716524638389875.1073741862.532149780160696&type=1