Log Kya Kahege? ( What will people say?)

Log Kya Kahege? ( What will people say?)

Over the past several years, I have come across newly married couples carrying a heavy burden; often well within several years after their children are born. It’s a burden that they either took upon themselves but most often one that was emotionally foisted upon them by parents and often distant relatives with the classic lines, “log kya kahege?” (what will people say)

Weddings in India are a multi-crore enterprise. Currently, the Indian wedding industry is worth over Rs 100,000 crore and is growing at 25 to 30 per cent annually. The estimated cost of a wedding with no expenses spared could be between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 5 crore. The pressure to conform and match up with the Jones is tremendous, leading young couples to enter into a whirlpool of debt in the first few years of married life; years that could well be the most testing for any newly married.

Yet this grave crisis is rarely spoken from the pulpit. If handled with tact it can become a great turning point among Christians who wish to scale down their weddings to match their bank balances with a realistic celebration rather than swipe their credit cards in favour of wishful expectations.

For the priest, the fear of addressing this contentious issue is realist. Congregations could always glibly misconstrue such a well-meaning suggestion as interference into their personal lives. Lest we catch the bull by its tail, the case being made is for celebrations that are debt free, celebrations where expenditure matches bank balances and where local customs (not Church requirements) do not contribute to making marital life a financial nightmare.

If I may use the license of my imagination applied to the Gospels, I would like to think of the wedding at Canna as a debt free marriage too. What if the bride and groom had spent all their money on the wedding and then the wine ran out? Six stone water jars filled to the brim and holding 20-30 gallons would total to 120-180 gallons of wine or about 680 litres. Jesus’ mother saw not just an embarrassing moment for the couple but the consequences of the future.

Many of my parishioners have often expressed their desire to marry but the reality of homes no larger than 200 square feet and the fear of wedding expenditures simply make what should be a natural calling into an impossible dream. Yesterday, the parish of St Jude situated in the suburb of Mumbai broke that glass ceiling.

A young couple desiring to get married, in what they called a ‘quiet ceremony,’ found themselves supported by a congregation of five hundred people. The nuptials was presided by the Bishop and followed by a community celebration that consisted of an evening of dinner and dance. All this happened because a parish council was able to be truly pastoral and not as often can be, political.

The parish feast day was to be celebrated on the 29th of October 2017 and the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Barthol Barretto had already consented to presiding over the celebrations. Fully aware of the challenges a parish feast day mass can pose, I proposed that the council permit the couple to be married on this day, with the Bishop himself blessing the nuptials; I thought this would be a nice gesture. The pastoral council agreed and then to my great joy built on the idea. Why not, they suggested, we welcome the couple to share in the evening celebratory dinner that was planned for 350 parishioners.

Our ashram fathers,brothers and inmates joined in too

The plan was a foot. While one member generously paid for thirty of the bridal party’s guests another sewed the bridal entourages’ clothes and still another button holes and the bridal bouquet. Gifts for the couple, consisting of house hold articles were bought, a cake was baked by a friend and the youth planned the evening reception meticulously.

We celebrated our first debt free wedding with the offer to reach out to many more; circumstances permitting. Of course we won’t always have a Bishop presiding or parish feast days to celebrate wedding receptions but it’s a start and a push in the right direction.

Fr Warner D’Souza
Now recovering from a happiness headache one day post the great celebrations

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/till-debt-do-us-part-malad-parishioners-help-couple-walk-down-the-aisle/articleshow/61522781.cms

 

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18 thoughts on “Log Kya Kahege? ( What will people say?)”

  • Wow. Such a sweet gesture. If only all could think this way. St. Jude is blessed to have u as their priest. Hope this message goes far n wide n we have more examples.

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  • What a lucky Bridal couple to have begun life with a new extended family. Your creative ideas Fr. Warner should spread through the archdiocese of Mumbai

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  • Amazing grace flowing there ! It was beautiful and fun filled !

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  • Praise the Lord, for bring a provider to the couple in their need.
    A friend once told me, enter a relationship only if your intentions are to get married and that ……you alone can bear the expenditure of your marriage with taking a loan or borrowing money from near and dear ones. Well I did get married on my own accord ( with the Lord being my provider).
    Even till now , my MIL ( who passed away 7 months back) used to ask me how I paid for my wedding expenses and do I have a debts to pay. I pray in my mind Phil 4:19.

    I agreed whole hearted that a couple should be married, without any debts on their heads and their celebrations should match their bank balance.

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  • How nice Fr. Warner this is such a beautiful initiative and your parishioners truly are living example of what it means to follow Christ – to die to oneself, one ‘s own needs and to serve just as Jesus came to serve not to be served.

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  • To me this is not jus amazing, rather Revolutionary….an invitation to people to become a catalyst for change in the society……
    “Being the change that u wish to see..” in the truest sense!!

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  • Superb Father, it is a great gesture to show that people unite together and celebrate the happy day of the couple… congrats Father on a great achievement of a debt free marriage 👍🏼

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  • This is something that needed to be addressed for a long time. Well done. And I hope many more follow suit and stop worrying about Lok Kya Kahege.

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  • If the Archdiocese spearheads and advocates this, it will become normal and no one will look down on this.

    Shroud burial should also be encouraged by the Archdiocese which will help in environment protection also.

    Compliments to Fr Warner for this initiative. More initiatives from priests will help in reducing the “Log kya Kahenge” feeling

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  • St. Michael’s ,Mahim were lucky to have Fr Warner some years ago. Bring him back. !!!!!

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  • Wowwwww, Fr. Warner…what a pioneering, awesome and truly blessed idea. Hoping and praying that many more young couples find support in this way. This is what the Early Christians did … may we somehow go back full circle to that communitarian lifestyle!

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  • Well it’s become a tabbu that grand celebration welcomes great invitees and result great social coverage (fake …total fake). Sometimes I wonder how some parents make huge posters for their small child birthday….where are we really heading for…spoiling our child and his future…really a nice initiative taken by Fr Warner for “Debt free” wedding irrespective of “Log Kya Kahenga”…Does Somebody Care????

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  • That’s such a radical initiative Father…. I remember during my wedding me and my husband had taken up loan for our wedding…then the next 2 years me and my husband spent repaying the debts we had taken for our wedding and trying to save for our future…I hope more such weddings take place and young couples who intend to get married understand the vicious cycle of loan and be away from it as much as possible.

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  • This is what all Catholic communities should do to help couples who can afford to get married n all churches have thev resources of a hall and basic amenities for a wedding. If Fr.Warner gets elected the head of the church what changes there will be. I’m so proud of what all he does for his parish. Every priest should take an example from him.

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  • Brilliant concept Fr. Warner. Not only will our youth start their lives debt free, you have gotten the whole community involved in the preparation and celebration of the couple’s marriage. Hats off!!!!!!

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  • Congrats for thinking and organizing the meaningful event that goes against the current. A powerful message against meaningless waste and show.

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  • So Happy that you have broached this topic.

    Years ago when we decided not to spend on a reception , we were faced with the same same dilemma of what people would say. We decided that we would greet everyone outside church and serve light refreshments immediately after the nuptials.

    We went and personally invited each guest and explained to them what we were doing; and our stand was validated with over 500 guests turning up for our nuptials.

    The priests at Our Lady of Lourdes, Malad were also extremely supportive and despite our offer to pay, allowed us to use the Garden free of cost – as they wanted to promote what we were doing. We do hope they used us as examples.

    18 years on, we have no regrets… and we still have people fondly remembering our wedding.

    Reply

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