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I wonder how many people in Catholic marriages are aware of National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14) and World Marriage Day (Sunday, Feb. 12).

It would be interesting to know how many parishes have planned anything to celebrate this week.

But the most interesting question for me would be how those “married in church” would respond to this question: “How are Catholic marriages different from other marriages?”

In this Vincentian Mindwalk I invite you explore with me…

An informed opinion

Dr. Greg Popcak and Lisa Popcak were featured speakers at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, and keynoters for the Tenth World Meeting of Families in Rome 2022.

Two quotes caught my eye from their writings

They tend to think that as long as they say Catholic prayers, go to Church on Sunday, and turn to marriage and parenting resources that either mention Jesus and/or confirm their unexamined personal biases about relationships, they are de facto living out the Church’s vision of marriage and family life…

The problem goes even deeper. It isn’t just that Catholic families aren’t definitively Catholic.  It’s that many Catholic families–even devout Catholic families–aren’t even families any more.  Like their secular counterparts, many Catholic families have allowed themselves to become collections of individuals living under the same roof. The wider culture has lost a sense of what it means to be a family and to live the mechanics of family life.  It used to be that families would join around regular meal times, game nights, family days, household projects, prayer, and of course Sunday worship.

Now, “family life” is the 3 secs we see our kids on the way to busing them to their various lessons, activities, and hobbies and running to our own meetings and commitments. In this, the Third Generation of the Culture of Divorce, many people feel like family rituals (meals, prayertime, family day, game nights, family projects) are things Ozzie and Harriet did in the 1950’s.   They seem like a fairy tale.   Too many Catholic families are caught up in this tide, following it rather than fighting it.

Marriage as the “Church in miniature”

I have had a life-long interest in an image of sacramental marriages as “Mirrors of God’s Love” or the “church in miniature”. Marriage actually is church in miniature.

I wonder how many know that the family is a little church with the same mission as the Church universal

I also wonder how many see marriage as a place where we learn to encounter Christ in each other.

This not a novel idea. Pope Benedict XVI was fond of commenting on it.

“Willed by God in very action of creation, marriage and family are interiorly ordained to fulfillment in Christ and have need of His graces in order to be healed from the wounds of sin and restored to their “beginning,” that is, to full understanding and the full realization of God’s plan” (#3).

What are the practical implications is a question that needs to be explored!

But that’s the subject of another post.

How aware are you that marriage has the same vocation and mission as the church?

Since I am still coping with Covid I give special thanks to Monica for making sense of the thoughts I sent her

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