Welcoming National Marriage Week

Fr Matthew Bemand-Qureshi, our Marriage and Family Life Diocesan Director and Chaplain, writes on National Marriage Week:

National Marriage Week is taking place from 7 to the 14 February. It is not a Catholic or even exclusively Christian initiative but its aim of promoting marriage as the best foundation for a stable family life and therefore the best foundation for society, is something we are firmly in agreement with. Reading the ‘signs of the times’ as successive Popes have encouraged us to do, there is clearly a need to promote the vocation to marriage in our parish communities, encouraging couples to marry rather than wait until they can afford a big celebration, and supporting couples as they face the ups and downs of family life together. Offering a warm welcome to those couples who come seeking marriage and being as flexible as we can within what canon and civil law requires can make a big difference in helping couples – who may not be assiduous in practising the faith – feel that they belong in the church.


Some ideas to support marriage within your parish during Marriage Week –

  • A blessing for married couples and those preparing for marriage after Masses on the weekend of Sunday 12 February
  • Intercessions which reflect the importance of this sacrament.
  • Reflecting on the sacramental nature of marriage in your homily.
  • Placing a newsletter article/social media advert asking for couples in the parish celebrating significant anniversaries this year to make themselves known to you – this will be helpful when you receive invitations for couples to the annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Marriage which will be celebrated by Bishop Alan in the Cathedral in July (Saturday 15 July).

Couples can find support or resources on our website : https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/marriage-family-life/ . Please do let us know if we can support the families in your parish in any way, and do we encourage families to follow our Facebook page, where we will soon be posting a series of interviews sharing the experience of various families trying to live and pass on the faith.

Events which may be of interest:

Marriage Care Counsellor Role and Training: 

Marriage Care are delighted to announce the launch of our Certificate in Relationship Counselling (CRC) training for 2023. This is an opportunity for those with the right skills to train and volunteer with us as relationship counsellors even if they do not have any previous counselling experience or qualifications. The CRC course will train and equip selected volunteers to safely and effectively counsel couples. They will then be able to join one of our local centres and support our mission to provide donation-based counselling services to those in need – volunteering just two sessions a week that will make a huge difference to couples and families. National selection events will take place in February and the course will begin on the 31 March. Full information about the CRC can be found on our webpage: www.marriagecare.org.uk/crc .


Beginning Experience Weekend

If you have suffered a divorce, separation or the death of your spouse, a residential weekend to help you to heal will be held from 21 to 23 April 2023 at the Sion Community, Brentwood, Essex. If you would like more details, please ring Freda 01322-838415 or Maura 07795-498445 or email [email protected].