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Pinoy couples marry in Catholic mass wedding in Muslim UAE

September 17, 2012 11:00am
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates— Some Filipino couples participated last week in a Catholic mass wedding in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Muslim country.

“Mass wedding is part of the [Couples for Christ] advocacy that all couples should be wed and blessed by our church,” Karen Villanueva, assistant recruitment officer at Tawam Hospital and, together with his husband, Arnold Aliparo, the Pastoral Formation Officer of Couples for Christ-Al Ain.

“It’s our intention that they receive the sacrament of marriage like any other sacrament a Catholic must go through,” she added.

Noting that ‘civil wedding alone is not recognized by our Catholic Church,’ the CFC started to conduct mass weddings in 2010.

“The CFC had organized all the preparation and support so that the couples would not have to spend much. Every couple will have a pair of principal sponsors who will be their secondary sponsors as well.”

Those who participated in last week's mass wedding were couples who were already civilly married in the Philippines:
  • Alfredo and Lailaine Paat,
  • Jeff and Ivy Gelano,
  • Fernan and Elvira Lucot,
  • Reggie and Jaja Balicao, and
  • Josh and Renee Giselle Maghari.


The Mass was presided over last Friday at St. Mary's Church in Dubai by Rev. Fr. Tomasito B. Veneracion, OFM Cap. who had come from the Philippines.

The entourage will also included a ring bearer (who will also be the coin bearer), and a flower girl.

“All the five couples will pay for are the flowers for the ceremony, their own clothes and their things (veil, cord, and candle)," Villanueva said.

"We did two invitations for each couple, and we also provide the photography. Marami kasing hobby ang photography sa CFC so they took it as their practice na rin. May pre-nuptial shooting pa nga sila,” she added.

Renee, one of the brides, said, “Inantay ko din yung pagkakataon na ‘to at nagpapasalamat kami [ni Josh] dahil maikakasal na rin kami sa church! Sobrang proud and overwhlemed kami dahil sa support ng CFC family namin dito sa Al Ain."

A requirement for baptism

In an earlier report of the news site Gulf News, Veneracion, who presided over the nuptial Mass on Friday, said "Some couples have already been married in a civil ceremony while others are getting married for the first time. Couples who have had a civil marriage are encouraged to get married in church as it is a requirement when we baptise their children later." 

In December last year, Veneracion presided over a mass wedding, also at St. Mary's Church, which was participated in by 49 couples, the largest number of couples that joined a mass wedding in that church.

Veneracion told Gulf News, "In the history of St Mary's Church, this is the largest number of couples that we've had. There were 56 couples, but the others weren't able to submit their documents on time, so the list was cut down to 49." - VVP, GMA News