Family matters

Column: We are called to be witnesses


Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

What does it look like to be a witness? In today’s culture, we are faced with being told to keep our faith to ourselves. What difference does our “witness” make?

In baseball, it would look like this:  The crowd on its feet at a Royals game cheering wildly for the final out by the “closer,” or, cheering on the Royals’ batter to drive in the winning run. The atmosphere is electric. The players speak of the energy the crowd brings at that moment.

Shortly, thousands will gather in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families to hear the witness of various national and international speakers about the importance of family and how it is best supported in the face of today’s culture.

At the close of this event, millions will gather to hear Pope Francis’ call to be witnesses — “to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family and to help spouses joyfully experience this plan in their lives, as we accompany them in the midst of so many difficulties.”

This challenge will be given to all who attend the World Meeting of Families as well as Catholic Christians throughout the world. How will we answer this call?

One of the ways for you to witness is by a yearly attendance at some form of enrichment for your marriage. Sadly, the misconception present in today’s culture is to seek out support for our marriage only when we reach a time of crisis. I have heard couples say: “We don’t need a retreat or enrichment. Our marriage is just fine.”

Please, do not settle for “fine”! Show your spouse the treasure and gift he or she is by spending time to have a great marriage. When the times of crisis come, as they surely will, you will be stronger to face it together.

Let’s go one step further. I urge you to invite another couple to experience enrichment. If it is your first time for a “Living in Love” retreat or a Marriage Encounter weekend, bring another couple along. If you have experienced one of these enrichments, tell another couple what it gave to you and go again; there is more treasure there.

In the coming months and year ahead, the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life will offer and promote many opportunities to renew and refresh your marriage.  Some will be retreat opportunities; some will be a day of reflection given by noted family speakers.  Come and bring another couple, perhaps your married children.

What difference will your witness make? Perhaps you will be that one couple who will be a channel of God’s grace to help another couple not just be satisfied with “fine” but strive for great.

Maybe it might even be your married children!

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Deacon Tony Zimmerman

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