SPARTANBURG—It was “I do!” times 12 at Jesus, Our Risen Savior Church.
Six couples, all members of the same family, were married July 18 in a special wedding ceremony celebrated by Adorno Father Frank Palmieri, the pastor.
The couples filed into the church as classical music played and sat in the front rows, which were draped with white material and decked with bows. The rest of the pews were filled with family members and friends, who came to celebrate the big day.
One by one, Father Palmieri led each couple in their wedding vows. Later in the ceremony, they knelt in prayer before a statue of Mary while a singer performed “Ave Maria.”
Ricardo Lopez and Maria Maldonado Flores are the patriarch and matriarch of the clan, while their children comprise half of each of the other five couples. They are Magdalena Lopez and Enrique Martinez, Felipe Lopez Maldonado and Adelina José Garcia, Enrique Lopez and Maria Isabel Martinez, Carlos Lopez Maldonado and Avelina Díaz Perez, and Prisco Melgar and Juana Melgar.
Father Palmieri said he worked with the couples for several months after they attended an Emmaus retreat — a weekend focused on helping people develop a deeper relationship with God.
He said some of them were married at civil ceremonies previously, but decided to have their marriage blessed by the Church after attending the retreat. Others were already dating and wanted to follow their relatives’ example by tying the knot.
“They all realized how important it is to be married in the Church, so we worked together to make it a reality,” Father Palmieri said. “It wasn’t very difficult to put this ceremony together. My hope is that it shows others the importance and the sanctity of marriage, and might encourage others to receive the sacrament.”
The family originally hails from Coatlan del Rio in the Mexican state of Morelos, but all have been living in the Spartanburg area for several years.
After the ceremony, the six couples lined up in the sanctuary for wedding photos and then were mobbed by well-wishers who crowded the narthex of the church. Outside, two huge, stretch SUV limousines waited to whisk them to the reception.
Magdalena Lopez said she was “very happy” to be married, and the day was especially meaningful because she shared the experience with her parents and siblings.
“I was a little bit nervous, but the ceremony was very beautiful,” said her brother, Enrique Lopez.
“It was a special thing to be able to get married alongside my parents and my brothers and sisters. It was so important that we were all together.”
Ricardo Lopez and his wife Maria both said the ceremony was emotional, especially receiving the Eucharist for the first time as husband and wife alongside their family.
Photos: Miscellany/Christina Lee Knauss