On the spirituality page of the Catholic Times the columnist mentions meeting with a priest only a few years younger, who still had his youthful looks."What is the secret for staying so young?" he asked with an inkling of jealously.
"Thanks, for thinking so. There is no secret, I am living with a community in which we are sharing happiness and for that I am grateful."
"You must be busy in the parish work?"
"All is very ordinary. By the way, interestingly, at the last pastoral council meeting we did make a big decision."
"What was that?"
"In the area of the parish, because of poverty, many have registered their marriages but have never had a ceremony. The parish decided to take care of all the expenses for the marriages."
"Are you saying that it will be completely free for those who want a marriage ceremony?"
"Yes, for those who can't pay for the photographer we will take care of even that expense. We have arranged for the guests to have a meal at a restaurant close to the parish that serves a beef soup with rice, and is very tasty. However, if they find that a burden the parish will feed them a noodle meal at the parish hall. We will be responsible for all the expenses, for the flowers and the use of the facilities. It will be simple but all free. Even one of the Catholics who has a large beauty shop has offered to take care of the preparations for the make up and the hair dressing needs for the bride. We are taking pride as a community to be able to help those in need."
The columnist hearing what his friend said remembered the words of a parishioner he heard some years before. They were looking for a beautiful parish Church with a large parking lot. But when they went to ask about the ceremony, the expenses were such that it was impossible to think of having the ceremony in the Church. The poor are not welcomed.
The columnist on saying good bye to his friend before he took the bus to his parish offered to preside at the services if necessary. His friend laughed, and got on the bus. He was proud to see a pastor do something about the problems with marriages in the Church.