It is always a delight to meet couples celebrating many years of married life together at the Mass of Thanksgiving for Marriage and Family Life, as well as those at the beginning of this adventure. You won’t be surprised to know that we’ve taken the decision not to hold a Mass this year in July as originally planned, and I hope those who would have come this year will be able to come next year instead.
This week is National Marriage Week and I would like to take this opportunity to send my greetings to all married couples, especially those celebrating significant anniversaries this year, and all those who are preparing for marriage. We have recently celebrated the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and the church is greatly enriched by all those who live the vocation to marriage, helping their spouse and their children on the path to heaven and revealing something of Christ’s love for his church through their own commitment to each other. You are all in my prayers, but most especially those who are experiencing illness and bereavement. I am also aware of the deep disappointment experienced by the many engaged couples who have had to postpone weddings or do not yet know how their weddings will be affected, and you too are in my prayers at this time of uncertainty.
Many families will be under a great deal of pressure with all the additional stresses associated with the pandemic, and sadly some relationships will be pushed to breaking point: please do not be afraid to seek help, or leave it too late – Marriage Care is one of a number of organisations offering remote access to marriage counselling, and in our own diocese the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society continues to provide vital support to children and families who are experiencing difficulties. As Pope Francis recently tweeted: “The Family is the hope of the future. Let us pray especially for families facing serious difficulties: may Our Lord assist them.”
Yours in Christ and Mary,
If you are experiencing difficulties in your marriage, whether due to the additional stresses cause by the coronavirus crisis or other reasons, help is available. Marriage Care is currently offering remote counselling, or you might find the Smart Loving Breakthrough course helpful. Visit http://marriagecare.org.uk or http://smartloving.org/breakthrough. Please don’t leave it too late to get help.
Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society continues to provide vital support for children with particular emotional and mental health needs. Information on the current arrangements can be found at https://www.bccs.org.uk/who-we-are/coronavirus-update
Couples who are preparing to get married in the coming months should keep in touch with the priest or deacon overseeing their preparation.
The Chancery and The Marriage and Family Life department have issued guidance to clergy on the administrative and spiritual elements of marriage preparation during the pandemic and can be contacted for further advice: firstname.lastname@example.org