by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Are you married? Here’s something you need to know: you’re being watched.
And that’s a good thing.
Without them even being aware of it, faithful Catholic couples are powerful signs of hope to the world, said Deacon Tony Zimmerman.
“You’re on the treadmill of life, and every day you’re doing the same thing,” said Deacon Zimmerman, consultant in the archdiocesan marriage and family life office. “But you don’t realize people watching. A couple can be a powerful sign of God’s love.”
Deacon Zimmerman remembered the powerful witness of a Marriage Encounter couple at a meeting.
The husband and wife walked into the meeting, looked at each other, turned right around and began to walk out the door.
“Hold on,” said the deacon. “What’s going on?”
“We had a fight,” they told him. “We need to go reconcile.”
So they went out to the car, talked, and came back to the meeting.
“An Irish bishop said it best,” said Deacon Zimmerman. “He told some couples, ‘You married people have no idea how important your marriage is to the church and the world.’ We have to tell them.”
This message will be brought home in a special event next month — and all married couples are invited to participate.
World Marriage Day will be celebrated with a Mass at 2 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Curé of Ars Parish, 9401 Mission Rd., Leawood.
The celebrants will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Bishop Robert W. Finn. Couples in attendance will have the opportunity to renew their vows. A reception will be held following the Mass.
Prizes will be awarded to the newest newlyweds and the longest-married couple.
No RSVP or registration is required. For information, call (913) 647-0345.
The Mass and reception are sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and the marriage and family life offices of both dioceses.
World Marriage Day — celebrated locally for at least the past six years — draws an eclectic crowd. Some couples arrive in their wedding gowns and suits. The participants range from those married a few weeks to those married a few decades. Many bring children.
So, why should married couples come to this Mass?
“Because the graces of matrimony are ongoing, not just for the wedding day,” said Deacon Zimmerman. “At this Mass we come to hear the words of God and receive the very presence of Christ.”
“We pray for the graces we need to live our marriages as God called us to do,” he continued. “We give a sign of hope — to encourage and be encouraged by other couples.”
Many people are afraid to get married, said Deacon Zimmerman. They want a happy, lifelong marriage, but don’t think it’s possible. Governments are rewriting the very definition of marriage, and many in the culture are buying into that vision, which has nothing to do with marriage as God created it.
“Please join us in worship for the sake of our country, our families and our church — and to live out the very nature of who God called us to be as husbands and wives,” said Deacon Zimmerman. “We are called by God to stand up and profess to the world that faithful, lifelong marriage is not only possible, but joyful. And God will support us.”