Evidently weddings at wineries are a big deal in Napa Valley, and there’s some controversy over having Catholic weddings there. One local priest has been criticizing his bishop for not allowing outdoor winery weddings. It looks like the bishop should take a closer look at the priest’s other practices.
Fr. Patrick Stephenson of Holy Family Catholic Church in American Canyon ... said that Daniel Walsh, bishop of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, forbids outdoor weddings. Stephenson commented, “What cathedral is more beautiful than our Napa Valley?”
He performed about 10 weddings last year. He elaborated on what makes his weddings unique, saying, “I ask the parents for their blessing on the couple. ... I give wine to the bride who toasts her parents, then her husband. The bridegroom does the same.” Stephenson said that the wine is fitting, since it’s in wine country.
This doesn’t sound like a Catholic wedding to me. I love it when priests think they know better than the Church about symbolism and worship and appropriateness. What Stephenson seems to be celebrating is people and fads, not Christ. The Catholic wedding is supposed to be an image of Christ, the Bridegroom, being united to His Bride, the Church.
At the least the wine toasts during the ceremony are a confusion of signs, muddying the understanding of the Precious Blood as the one cup of sacrifice.