Most of us will never get an invitation to the White House Rose Garden that the Kennedys built, but as grandma always said, there’s no invitation necessary to visit church—although it sure is nice when there is one.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where 24-year old Jacqueline Bouvier married the young Senator John F. Kennedy in front of 1,300 guests in September 1953, is opening its doors and inviting visitors inside to re-live that magical moment.
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The church, located in the resort town of Newport, Rhode Island, is launching a program called “Return to Camelot,” which will give Kennedy enthusiasts a front row seat to history, recreating Jackie and John’s wedding through film clips, a live performance of songs from the couple’s wedding and reception, and local remembrances of the big day. The pastor will also lead a tour of the church where the couple worshipped before and after their marriage and let visitors pose for pictures in the Kennedys’ favorite church pew.
The church is starting the program today and it will run every Tuesday through October 31st. While churches don’t always welcome outsiders who just want to gawk, according to the Associated Press, the Diocese of Providence saw this as a way for the church to connect with more people. “We wanted to be a bit more friendly, and contribute to the tourism of Newport, too,” said Rev. Kris von Maluski. Plus, it’s a great way to raise money to restore the church’s choir loft and keep the organ in tune. Tickets for the Return to Camelot experience are $15 per person.
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To round out your Newport walk down memory lane, plan a tour of Hammersmith Farms, where Jackie spent her summers on Newport and where the couple held their wedding reception.
For more information, visit the church’s Return to Camelot website.