Celebrate Marriage

Published on Feb 16th, 2014 by Austin Keith | 0
The Month of February is a Good Time to Raise Awareness About Marriage
The upcoming observances of National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14), World Marriage Day (Feb. 9) and Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) provide an excellent opportunity for members of our community to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples.
The U. S. Catholic Bishops have made it a priority to promote and strengthen marriage both as a “natural institution willed by the Lord and as a Christian sacrament between a baptized man and baptized woman,” said Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo and chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. “Marriage and the family face many challenges in our contemporary society. The declining numbers of marriages in the Church is a concern to our Committee, as are the effects that pornography use has on marriages and families. In the political and legal realm, it is certainly of grave concern to see continuing attempts to redefine marriage into something other than the lifelong union of one man and one woman. We are well aware of the disappointing June 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act,” he said.
The following resources are being provided by the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth for parishes and others to build a culture that honors and promotes marriage and the family.
Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty – The U. S. bishops at their November 2013 meeting voted to extend this prayerful initiative, which invites our people to fast and pray for the ongoing work to build a culture of life and marriage and to protect religious liberty. During National Marriage Week, dioceses and parishes are asked to consider promoting Friday, Feb. 7 as a day of fasting and abstinence for the particular intention of a greater reverence for the gift of marriage and family in our nation and for the healing of those suffering from troubled or broken marriages, especially children. More information on the Call to Prayer is available at www.usccb.org/pray. 
For Your Marriage and Por Tu Matrimonio – A large and varied collection of resources for couples who are married or planning for marriage can be found in English and Spanish at www.ForYourMarriage.org and www.PorTuMatrimonio.org. Both sites also run Facebook pages, which will provide daily content during National Marriage Week: www.facebook.com/foryourmarriage and  www.facebook.com/PorTuMatrimonio. 
Marriage: Unique for a Reason – Video and print materials and other educational and religious education resources that present the beauty and explain the uniqueness of marriage as the permanent, faithful and fruitful union of one man and one woman can be found at www.MarriageUniqueforaReason.org.
World Marriage Day – Resources for celebrating World Marriage Day (Sunday, Feb. 9), sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, are available at http://wmd.wwme.orgWorld Marriage Day, now in its 32nd consecutive year, received the Apostolic Blessing of Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1993.
National Marriage Week USA – National Marriage Week, now in its fifth year, is a collaborative effort to influence the culture by faith communities, business, media, education and non-profit groups. It promotes marriage as a benefit to husbands and wives and to the nation, as well as the best environment in which to raise children. Information and resources are at http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org.
New Spanish DVD Resource on the unique Meaning of Marriage
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) has released a video in its religious education series for the promotion and protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. El Matrimonio: Hecho para el amor y la vida (Marriage: Made for Love and Life) is a 30-minute film in Spanish with English subtitles, accompanied by a bilingual study guide. The film invites viewers into a compelling story about a faithful marriage of 50 years and a young man and woman skeptical of marriage. El Matrimonio and study guide address: sexual difference and complementarity, the good of children, the common good and religious freedom.
El Matrimonio: Hecho para el amor y la vida and other education materials from the Marriage: Unique for a Reason initiative are available online at www.marriageuniqueforareason.org and in Spanish, www.elmatrimoniounicoyconrazon.org. 
For more information on local initiatives that promote marriage, call the Diocesan Center for Family Life at (904) 551-2619 or visit: www.dcfl.org.