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family wedding ceremony

When Kimberly Cavanaugh agreed to marry Tony Garcia, the 32-year-old realized that she was getting more than just a husband. "I was making a commitment to be a good stepmother to Christy and Travis." she says, referring to her fiancé's adolescent children

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Catholic Periodical, The Tidings

"I wanted to do something during the wedding to show the kids how important they were to me," she explains. "When I first started dating Tony, my friends told me that a man with two kids was carrying a lot of excess baggage. I think that's the way many children of divorce feel--like they're just excess baggage, something in the way, especially if one or both of their parents are dating. I had grown to love Christy and Travis during the three years it took Tony to get an annulment. Tony and I both wanted a wedding that somehow communicated to the kids that they weren't losing their dad, they were gaining a family."

Family Medallion WeddingsAn article in a bridal magazine supplied the answer the couple was seeking: information about a simple liturgical service that gives children a meaningful role in the wedding celebration. This five-minute ceremony--known as the "Family Medallion®" service--can be integrated into any religious wedding. It differs from the traditional Catholic wedding in only one respect: after the newlyweds' exchange rings, their children join them on the altar for a special service focusing on the family nature of remarriage.

An article in a bridal magazine supplied the answer the couple was seeking: information about a simple liturgical service that gives children a meaningful role in the wedding celebration. This five-minute ceremony--known as the "Family Medallion®" service--can be integrated into any religious wedding. It differs from the traditional Catholic wedding in only one respect: after the newlyweds' exchange rings, their children join them on the altar for a special service focusing on the family nature of remarriage.

Mrs. Garcia says that no one will ever forget the moment during the wedding last summer when she and Tony placed a Family Medallion® around the necks of Christy and Travis. Tony, who isn't prone to displays of sentiment, agrees. "It was an emotionally powerful event," the 36-year-old father says. "We gave the kids something tangible to show them they were going to be an integral part of our lives. They were beaming. I could tell how happy they were."

Fourteen-year-old Travis still remembers the words about family love spoken by the priest who officiated at the wedding, "I thought, 'Wow, Dad and Kimberly really do want us to be a family.'"

Christy, 12, was also thrilled. "I felt so special when they gave me the family medal," she says. "Kimberly could have had an ordinary wedding like everyone else. But she went beyond the ordinary to make the wedding a day we would all remember. I realized how much she cared about Travis and me and that she really meant it when she said that she would always be there for us."

family wedding ceremony

"It's a very positive service for all involved," says Msgr. John F. Barry. Msgr. Barry has used the Family Medallion® ceremony in several weddings including the Cavanaugh/Garcia wedding. "When there is a remarriage situation, it's critical that children from previous marriages be affirmed and welcomed into the new relationship created by their parent and stepparent. The Family Medallion® service is a good way to celebrate this new beginning," Msgr. Barry told The Tidings.