For Nicanor Alarcon and Hermina Lopez, married in a civil ceremony 23 years ago in Los Angeles, the wedding liturgy was special for the couple, their three children, family and friends.“We are excited and happy because we waited a long time to get married” in the church, said Lopez, who added that she and her husband enjoyed the marriage preparation class organized by the archdiocesan Office of Family Life.“This is one of the greatest days of our lives,” said Victor Garcia, uniting in the bond of holy matrimony with Martha, mother of their two children. “It’s a very important step in our lives, wanting to be blessed by the Lord” in marriage, he added.Married 18 years ago in a church hall service, Rafael Hernandez and Claudia Nu√±ez were happy to be among the couples receiving the sacrament of marriage inside St. Bernard’s, surrounded by their children, Tania and Earnie, and friends.“It’s brought them closer because they had to go through the whole process of going to marriage camp and learning more about each other,” said Tania. “I think rejuvenating their marriage is good for them.”“This is exciting,” said Carmelite Father Paul Henson, who concelebrated with Columban Father Peter Kenny, spiritual director for the Legion of Mary. “It’s allowing people to come to the sacraments, allowing them to have a special grace that a lot of people don’t have, which is God’s grace, the community’s blessing and the church’s blessing. I think a lot of people are missing that, so they split up [sometimes].“With this,” he added, “people really find some kind of a deeper reason why they got married, and they reach down into that to move ahead and keep faithful. That’s why this is great.”Father Kenny, delivering a sermon in English following Father Henson’s Spanish homily, said the ceremony was “very special because it’s not just a marriage of two people, but three: the bride, the groom and God. “You make new promises or renew promises to each other: promises of love, kindness, fidelity and faithfulness to each other,” noted Father Kenny. “And you also make promises to God: to pray to God and meet God in Sunday Mass [and] do everything possible to bring up your children and grandchildren trusting and loving God.“God, for his part, makes promises to you. He’s promising you he will always be there to help you. In fact, he’s entered into a contract with you to help you. That’s the beauty of the Catholic sacramental marriage which you are receiving.” “I think it went very well,” said Msgr. McSorley, who slipped into the church near the end of the liturgy as the couples brought flower bouquets to statues of Our Lady along the side wall.“It’s a lovely occasion,” he added. “It’s nice to see couples have the opportunity to receive the sacrament in a way in which it is easier for them to celebrate along with other couples. They’re all very happy to do this [and told me] they intended to do this for quite some time, and this was the opportunity to do it.”“Most of us knew these couples,” said Salvador Solis, president of the parish’s Guadalupano group. “We talked with them and finally they decided to come and get married. There are a lot of couples who need somebody to talk with them to convince them that this life [with Jesus Christ] is best.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0603/wedding/{/gallery}