The Sacrament of Marriage

02-09-2014Weekly ReflectionRosemary and Deacon Stephen Kern

Dear Parish Family,

Valentine's Day is this coming Friday. For many of us it is a time to share a special expression of love with those we are close to. As Catholics, we also celebrate St. Valentine who is believed to have been a priest arrested and martyred by Emperor Claudius II for performing marriages for Christian couples secretly during a time of persecution of the Church. Legend has it that he sent letters of encouragement to his fellow Christians signing them: "From Your Valentine."

In light of St. Valentine's ministry, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated the week of February 7-14, 2014 as National Marriage Week USA in order to promote the benefits of marriage for men, women, children and society; to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage; and to affirm and support engaged and married couples. The gift and blessing of marriage is often misunderstood and under-appreciated in our current culture. Jesus, who in Scripture is frequently referred to as the bridegroom and His followers as the bride, has bestowed great dignity on sacramental marriage. In fact, out of compassion for the bride and groom and at the urging of His Blessed Mother, He performed His first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. We ask that you remember all married couples in your prayers during this week, asking our Lord to help them to always be open to the graces of their sacrament as they strive to live out their wedding vows on a daily basis.

In keeping with this focus on the sacrament of marriage, we are extremely pleased to announce the start of a new Marriage Ministry at our parish. In follow up to National Marriage Week, the Ministry's inaugural event, Celebrating Marriage, Bond of Life and Love, will take place on Saturday evening, February 22, 2014 beginning at 6:15 pm in the church narthex. A core group of married couples from the parish along with our Pastor, Fr. Tim, have planned a special "couples' night out" which will include prayer and reflection, a special blessing for each couple, and hospitality and fellowship with other married couples.

Couples who plan to attend this special evening can sign up at the Marriage Ministry table in the narthex after Masses this weekend and next weekend. We ask couples to RSVP so that we can more accurately plan for the appetizers and desserts we will provide. Flyers are also available at the table, in the bulletin and on St. Magdalen's parish website. Please complete the sign up information on the flyer and return via mail, drop box in the narthex, or at our table next weekend. We look forward to seeing many of you on February 22nd!

In the meantime, may your light "shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father"!

Peace, Rosemary and Deacon Stephen