by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For more than a decade, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph have observed World Marriage Day with a jointly sponsored Mass and reception.
But like so many other things this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has required some adjustments.
Instead of one Mass for a large number of worshipers, the archdiocese is asking individual parishes to take the lead.
“We are sending materials to each of the parishes about World Marriage Day and National Marriage Week,” said Deacon Tony Zimmerman, lead consultant for the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life.
“They can do different things to highlight these events, including prayers of the faithful for daily Mass and bulletin announcements. When it comes to World Marriage Day, we are asking each parish to celebrate that in some way at a regular Sunday Mass. The priest or deacon can preach about the importance of marriage and family, tied back into the readings. And we invite them to do a blessing for married couples.”
National Marriage Week is Feb. 7-14, and World Marriage Day is on Feb. 14. These are wonderful opportunities for the faithful to focus on building a culture of life and love, and to promote marriage and family, said Deacon Zimmerman. The theme this year is: “To Have, To Hold, To Honor.”
Celebrating and supporting marriage and family life is especially important now given the stresses of the previous year and even now, said Deacon Zimmerman.
“Many, many families — because of the pandemic and loss of jobs — are going through a time of stress,” he said. “Regular, daily life has been disrupted. Even worse for some has been the medical suffering due to the effects of COVID.
“Beyond that, relationships have suffered due to the social distancing necessary to combat the virus. Many families did not have the usual celebrations of birthdays and holidays. Older members of the family, and those in nursing homes, have become isolated.”
People need encouragement that we will get through this, eventually, together and with the love of Christ and prayer, said Deacon Zimmerman.
“It’s really important that we recognize the great gift of our spouse and pray for the grace from God to have hope to get through it,” he said. “Marriage is worth it.”
Couples and families can find a number of resources by following the web links in the sidebar. Pastors, parish ministers and couples can also find resources on the USCCB website.