Dearly beloved, we were gathered there …

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 2004

Good Morning, Along the River-Kevin Chiri

Whew! That’s a long ride to Colorado.

I just returned from a family trip up north, or should I say northwest, where I went to see my niece get married.

Or, to be more accurate, I went there to officiate at my niece’s wedding.

That’s right. I’ve been explaining this to everyone I know for weeks when I have mentioned that I would be performing a wedding ceremony.

I’m sure you are wondering if I am an ordained minister, or something of that sort. The answer is no. I am simply a newspaper man of 30 years.

So you can imagine my shock a few months ago when my niece called and asked if I would officiate at her wedding. My first response was, “can I even do that?”

But incredibly, you will find that most government agencies don’t want to get into the business of deciding who is qualified enough to perform a wedding. The legality of a wedding is in the marriage license, not who performs the ceremony.

I was even more surprised to find that Denver, Colo. was even more lenient about who could perform a wedding than they were in my former parish of St. Tammany. Quite simply, anyone can perform a ceremony if the license is obtained.

So there I went to perform my first, and what I assume will be my last, wedding ceremony.

Now I have spoken publicly many times, and short of the usual bit of nervousness, haven’t had a problem. For that matter, I kind of like public speaking since it is usually about the newspaper – something I have a bit of knowledge about.

But a wedding?

I consider myself some kind of spiritual person, and I guess my niece did too since she asked me to marry her. But I never saw myself as officiating over a service.

But there I was, doing just that in Denver last Friday night, and somehow surviving the whole thing without any major gaffe. For that matter, the reaction to our ceremony was very good, considering I was sweating bullets from the beginning.

I have been married 29 years, and that gave me some level of authority to speak about marriage, so I focused on the unconditional love we should give to our spouse, just as Christ did for the church in talking to those who are Christians. For those who have joined me in a longtime marriage, you know what I mean. It isn’t 50-50, it’s 100-100.

When you come to understand that, and trusting your whole marriage to the Creator, in all things, you can have a wonderful married life.

Fortunately I have had that, thanks to trying to do it God’s way. And for my newly married niece, I hope she and her husband caught a little hint of that.

KEVIN CHIRI is editor and publisher of L’Observateur. He may be reached at (985) 652-9545.