by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As every Catholic knows, it takes three people to make a marriage.
It takes a man, a woman and God.
Sometimes, even the best of us can forget this, said Deacon Tony Zimmerman, lead consultant of the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life.
Married couples can celebrate their marriages — and God’s vital role there — during this National Marriage Week USA Feb. 7-14 and at a special Mass on Feb. 11, World Marriage Day, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
In the archdiocese, the World Marriage Day Mass will be at 2 p.m. on Feb. 11 at Church of the Ascension, 9510 W. 127th St., Overland Park.
The main celebrant will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann. The homilist will be Bishop James Vann Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
There is no cost or registration. There will be a light reception following the Mass. The first 250 couples will receive a free couple’s guide for prayer, called “Ask, Search, Knock: An Hour of Prayer for Marriage and Family Life,” by Father Johnny Doherty, CSsR.
Couples are encouraged to bring their children.
What’s the point of having a National Marriage Week and a World Marriage Day?
“All of us who are married answered the call to this vocation with enthusiasm and great interior joy, and hopes and dreams,” said Deacon Zimmerman. “But as the years go by, we are challenged by the demands of life. Because of that, it’s easy to lose sight of those joys and dreams with which we started.”
“On our wedding day, we promised the total gift of ourselves to our spouse,” he continued, “but that’s only possible with the grace of God. We need to be open to those graces to receive them, but life’s challenges can cause us to close up.”
“So we have this Mass and this week to call us back to what we dreamt of and were called to be, and [we] turn to God to ask him for the particular graces we need here and now,” said Deacon Zimmerman.
The Mass is a prayer of thanksgiving, said Brad DuPont, consultant for the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life.
“World Marriage Day Mass is a way for couples to publicly come together to say, ‘Thank you, God’ for the gift of marriage.”
There are other reasons, too, for couples to come to the Mass. Some couples may come to be strengthened by being with other couples, or receive graces from God.
“Also, this Mass fulfills your Sunday obligation,” said DuPont.
It makes sense to celebrate our marriages and the family we create by our marriages, said Deacon Zimmerman.
“If you want to change the world, strengthen your marriage,” said DuPont. “Your marriage literally unleashes love into the world.”