Next Saturday, Bishop Tran will celebrate a special Mass at Saint Brigid honoring those couples in the Archdiocese of Atlanta celebrating their 50th or 60th Marriage Anniversary. This will be his first visit to Saint Brigid since his recent appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta.
The goals of Catholic marriage are the procreation and education of children, and the mutual love of a couple, in a union that is permanent and indissoluble. These couples have committed themselves in a sacramental way to the Lord, and to one another. They have strived to live up to the goals of Catholic marriage. Their love and their marriage have endured through challenges and difficulties.
In our Church tradition, a man and woman are not only joined to each other in marriage, they are also joined to Christ. As the sign of God’s presence in the world, Christ is the foundation of their union. The couple then joins Christ as an outward sign of God’s love. They are able to open themselves to each other in love because God has first loved them.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has a great appreciation for couples who have embraced the vocation of marriage. In a recent address, as reported by the publication “National Catholic Register”, he noted that “…there is a strong need in the Church and in the world to rediscover the meaning and value of the conjugal union between a man and a woman on which the family is founded.” He also reminded the faithful that the gift received in the sacrament of marriage is “…an irrevocable gift, a source of grace which we can always count on.”
The following “Prayer of a Couple on the Anniversary of Marriage” provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops thanks God for the blessing of family life, and asks for the renewal of the marriage covenant:
We praise You, O God,
we bless You, Creator of all things,
who in the beginning made man and woman
that they might form a communion of life and love.
We also give You thanks for graciously blessing our family life
so that it might present an image of Christ’s union with the Church.
Therefore, look with kindness upon us today,
and as You have sustained our communion amid joys and struggles,
renew our Marriage covenant each day, increase our charity,
and strengthen in us the bond of peace,
so that we may forever enjoy Your blessing.
Through Christ our Lord Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Our Holy Father, and as we honor these couples, we can thank them for the endearing and steadfast love which they have experienced, in the midst of the joys and struggles of their chosen vocation.