Prayer, Liturgy and the Sacraments are all ways to lift up the vocation of marriage within the faith-life of the community.
Like any other building project, if you do not have a strong foundation, the After listening to a homily one Sunday on the problems occurring in countries where the priest shared that Catholics were fighting other Catholics, I approached Father after Mass. I thanked him for his important thoughts, and encouraged him to remember next time the Catholics who are fighting other Catholics across the kitchen table and in bedrooms in this country. They need our prayers as well as our ministry.
What about the decrease in the number of couples marrying within the Church? One priest we know prays for vocations at every Mass…for an increase in the vocations of Priesthood, Religious Life, AND the Sacrament of Marriage.
Another priest shared that he tells the couple when he marries them, that he writes their names in his book of all the couples he’s married. Each morning at 8am, Father specifically prays for these couples. One came back to him some time later and shared that they had been arguing all night. It wasn’t till they looked at the clock the next morning and it was 8am and they knew Father was praying for them, that they were able to refocus, and agree to get the help they needed to get their marriage back on track.
The charge for the Marriage Ministry Team is to implement more extensive and Consider the benefits of starting Marriage-Building Sundays, where on one weekend a month Marriage is uplifted in various ways. Anniversary Blessings for couples celebrating their anniversary that month is a great start. The homily can include a Marriage message with an insert in the bulletin that weekend that gives a deeper challenge to the couples of the parish. Prayers of the Faithful are always an important opportunity to pray for marriage. And, your Marriage Ministry Team can use this weekend to promote upcoming events in the parish.
- Our Church regularly prays for married couples, for those preparing for Sacramental marriage and those struggling in their marriages.
- Our Church celebrates marriage anniversaries, renewal of wedding vows, and blessings for the engaged and newly married.
- Homilies, when possible, offer a message that is speaks to the realities of married life and offers specific ways couples can grow in holiness.
- Consider the benefit of one Sunday a month focused on Marriage, a Marriage-Building Sunday. Include a marriage message in the homily, one that challenges all to consider an important aspect of marriage and family relationships. Extend the message as an insert in that Sunday’s bulletin.
- Pray a Blessing for couples celebrating an Anniversary, including those widowed possibly at Marriage-Building Sunday. A Blessings & Prayers booklet is available from MarriageBuildingUSA.
- Encourage married couples to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, once a month when possible. Make “An Examination of Conscience for the Married” available to help couples reflect deeply on the aspects relevant to their marriage and family. Quantities of this Examination are available from MarriageBuilding USA.
- Regularly have Prayers of the Faithful for the Engaged, Married, and struggling Couples of the Parish, as well as those who have divorced or are widowed.
- Introduce each Engaged Couple preparing for marriage in your Parish at a Sunday liturgy, offer a Blessing & Prayers and ask the community to keep them prayer.
- Give a couple at their wedding a holy water bottle filled with the holy water that blessed their wedding rings and give them assistance to use it to Bless their new Home as husband and wife.
- Provide the means for Households to consecrate their homes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The promises are very much focused on marriages and families.