World Marriage Day takes place every February as a time to honor and celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage. The Diocese of Burlington will celebrate World Marriage Day 2019, with Bishop Christopher Coyne, on Sunday, Feb. 3, at the 10 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Burlington. In Vermont, those celebrating milestone anniversaries each year (for example: 5, 10, 15…55 or more years) are invited to this special Mass with their families. A reception will follow in the parish hall after Mass. In addition, parishes are encouraged to honor and celebrate marriage anniversaries on the following Sunday, Feb. 10, with their parish priest in their own communities. These marriages are inspirational examples for our Vermont communities and reflect the commitment of God’s divine love, demonstrating the beauty of husbands’ and wives’ faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life. As Pope Francis writes, “they make a selfless commitment, proclaiming to those present that they will trust one another and never abandon the other when troubles brew” (“Amoris Laetitia,” 132). In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we are taught that Christ is the source of this grace. Christ dwells with them, giving them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow Him, rising again after they have fallen, forgiving one another, sharing one another’s burdens and to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,” in other words, to love one another with supernatural, tender and fruitful love (CCC 1642).

The marriages honored this year are a response to God’s call to grow together, where they bring love to maturity, and celebrate this earthly grace. We can be encouraged by witnessing the common joys of their love, their patience, their kindness and the forgiveness they ask and share with each other in their daily lives.

Congratulations to those celebrating milestone anniversaries. Let their love bear witness to God’s faithful love and a little bit of heaven on Earth through their marriage covenant.

—Terri McCormack, diocesan coordinator of Marriage and Family Life,

A World Marriage Day Prayer

Father, as we prepare for World Marriage Day, we thank you for your tremendous gift of the Sacrament of Marriage. Help us to witness to its glory by a life of growing intimacy. Teach us the beauty of forgiveness so we may become more and more one in heart, mind and body. Strengthen our dialogue and help us become living signs of your love. Make us grow more in love with the Church so we may renew the Body of Christ. Make us a sign of unity in the name of Jesus, our Lord and brother. Amen.

— Father Bill Dilgen, SMM, Worldwide Marriage Encounter

—Originally published in the Feb. 2-8, 2019, issue of The Inland See.