William Waghela, a Powai resident, saved lakhs of rupees for his 23-year-old daughter’s wedding, as she chose to be a part of the first mass wedding ceremony held by the Archdiocese of Mumbai on Sunday, where 30 couples tied the knot.
“A regular wedding would have cost me close to Rs. 3 lakh, which would have been difficult to pay, and I am glad that my daughter got a grand wedding ceremony,” said Waghela, a service employee.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias blessed the couples and officiated at the weddings, which took place at the St Xavier’s School ground, Vile Parle. “The main purpose of the mass weddings was to help the economically weaker sections of the community,” he said.
Of the 30 couples that took part in the ceremony, seven were from the city, while the rest were migrants, largely from Ranchi. “Most of these migrants are from the economically weaker sections of society and take up jobs such as domestic work and cleaning. They cannot afford to spend lakhs on a wedding ceremony for their children, which is why we decided to conduct a mass wedding,” said Gordon D’Souza, president, Bombay Catholic Sabha, which helped organise the event.
For the couples, the highlight of the function was the community spirit. “It was great to have the community come together for our wedding,” said Kennedy Santana, a Mahim resident, who married Monica Shaludilima, 32.
The Archdiocese and Bombay Catholic Sabha raised Rs8 lakh for the event through sponsorships from several community businessmen.
The couples, who came to know of the ceremony through announcements and banners at churches, took part in a three-month marriage preparation course, where they learned about the different aspects of family life.