Parish Prayer Day for Marriage and Family Life
Proposed Theme: Couples getting married in the parish this year
Pope Francis: We need to help young people to discover the beauty and dignity of marriage. They should be helped to perceive the attraction of a complete union that elevates and perfects the social dimension of existence, gives sexuality its deepest meaning, and benefits children by offering them the best context for their growth and development. (The Joy of Love No. 205)
I encourage Christian communities to recognise the great benefits that they themselves receive from supporting engaged couples as they grow in love. (The Joy of Love No. 207)
- One the most important decisions a person will ever make is the decision to get married. It will change that person’s life forever
- Along with this is the decision of whom to marry!
- And then there is the decision of where to get married.
Many people are making those decisions in our parish this coming year. They need our prayers.
The question of where to get married is a very real one for couples today. There was a time, not too long ago, when it was taken for granted that almost every wedding would be in the church. That is no longer the case. Some choose to be married in the Registry Office; others in an hotel or other such place in a civil ceremony. But many couples continue to choose a wedding in the Church.
It is to these latter that we owe special care because they choose to marry among us.
It is mandatory for couples getting married in the Catholic Church to do a Marriage Preparation course. This doesn’t always happen and this is a great loss. The purpose of these courses is to make sure that the couples know what they are doing by getting married among us and are able to do it with joy. It is the responsibility of the parish community to encourage these couples to prepare well. It is a great benefit for the couples themselves. It is also of benefit to the whole community as they set out on their new journey of faith.
The Parish Community also needs to prepare to welcome and accompany these new couples in their marriage journey. The following questions and suggested actions should help in this preparation
- How many couples will get married in your parish in the coming year?
- How many of your parishioners will get married in other parishes in the coming year?
- How could these couples be honoured by the parish community for their goodness and generosity?
- How could the Marriage Preparation courses that are available be better advertised and encouraged within your parish and as part of parish life?
- At the beginning of the month announce this intention to the parish and ask for their prayers for all those getting married in the parish during the year.
- On the weekend before the date of your day of Prayer for Marriage & Family Life remind everyone about it and ask for prayers all through that day.
- Get a list of the dates and contacts of Marriage Preparation Courses that are available so that the couples can easily access them. These courses are mainly run by ACCORD. Create a sense of gladness about these couples and a sense of celebration within the parish community.
- Celebrate the couples who got married in the parish in the previous year. Develop this as an annual event for the whole parish community.