My Dear Parishioners,
In preparation for our celebration of Ash Wednesday, please bring in your old palm from years past so that we may burn it to make the ashes that will be blessed and distributed next week on February 22nd. The wicker basket is in the back hallway behind the church by the large crucifix. Please take the palm out of any bags and dispose of them.
This Sunday is “World Marriage Day.” World Marriage Day honors husband and wife as head of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily, married life. The observances of National Marriage Week (February 7-14) and World Marriage Day (Sunday, February 12) are an opportunity to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with supporting and promoting marriage and the family. Our theme for 2023 is “Marriage…one flesh, given and received.” The US Bishops have produced a document to help the church and married couples strengthen their bonds. Here is the introduction from the document, Called to the Joy of Love: National Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life Ministry.
God’s plan for marriage and family life corresponds to the deepest desires of men and women for lasting happiness and true joy. As sons and daughters of God, we are made for love, for God is love. The family, whose mission is “to guard, reveal and communicate love,” is the common place where God’s love is first experienced and the joy of love is made present.
Catholic marriage and family life ministry serves all married couples and families by proclaiming the love of God to them and helping them embrace their vocation to love and discipleship. Inspired primarily by the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, this document presents a framework of pastoral principles for marriage and family life ministry and advocacy that can serve as a resource to assist pastoral planning in parishes, dioceses or eparchies nationwide. This framework is offered in continuity with the pastoral letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan as a practical and pastoral counterpart to the theological principles about marriage that are presented there.
Today, pastoral leaders face the challenge of addressing numerous marital and family situations that are more complex than in previous decades. This framework attempts to present pastoral approaches to many of these situations with the hope that all people “experience the Gospel of the family as a joy that ‘fills hearts and lives.’” As Pope Francis indicates, the contemporary issues faced by couples and families require an outreach that is “not content to proclaim a merely theoretical message without connection to people’s real problems.” Rather, “pastoral care for families ‘needs to make it clear that the Gospel of the family responds to the deepest expectations of the human person: a response to each one’s dignity and fulfilment in reciprocity, communion and fruitfulness.’”
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminds us that, “The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church.” As the bishops of the United States, we renew our commitment to serve all married couples and families in our midst with a renewed pastoral attentiveness. It is our hope that the principles presented here will encourage effective efforts toward a renewal of evangelization in our country. The Church’s ministry to and with families is of paramount importance, for, “as the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Entrusting this work, therefore, to the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, it is our prayer that families across our country will be renewed, fortified, and inspired by God’s plan of love and life.
Prayer for Married Couples
Almighty and eternal God, You blessed the union of married couples so that they might reflect the union of Christ with his Church: look with kindness on them. Renew their marriage covenant, increase your love in them, and strengthen their bond of peace so that, with their children, they may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
May God Bless You,