Niagara to begin blessings September 1

The Diocese of Niagara, Canada has published A Rite of Blessing of a Civil Marriage.

The Niagara Rite is intended for the voluntary use of priests who wish to offer a sacrament of blessing regardless of the gender of the civilly married persons who who wish to receive the blessing of the church and wish to affirm their life commitment to each other before God in the community of the church.

As such it does not imply nor is it intended to suggest that those who do or do not make use of this rite are excluded from the economy of God’s salvation. The rite is a means for the church to extend affirmation, support, and commitment to those who present themselves seeking a sign of God’s love in response to the love and commitment they express for each other and have already affirmed in a civil ceremony.

It is designed for the blessing of any couple who have been civilly married. It may also be used for the blessing or renewing of marriage vows for a couple celebrating a significant moment in their married life together.

Effective September 1, 2009, permission will be granted by Bishop Michael Bird for the use of the Niagara Rite as outlined in the protocols that are included.

Chris Ambidge, Convener of Integrity Toronto, writes, “I’m glad to see that the bishop of Niagara is moving forward to equal treatment of all couples – notice that the policy applies equally to same- and opposite-sex couples. And it’s good to see that New Westminster no longer stands alone in this country.”

The Theology of the Rite is here.

The Niagara Rite is here

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