A dreary, rainy day in Manhattan did not deter more than 400 Hispanic couples from celebrating World Marriage Day Feb. 11 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The second annual Spanish Mass honoring the sacrament of matrimony was sponsored by Movimiento Matrimonial Catolico (Catholic Marriage Movement) in collaboration with the archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry. “We Believe in Marriage” was the theme.
Father Peter A. Mushi, A.J., pastor of St. Cecilia and Holy Agony parish in East Harlem, served as principal celebrant and homilist at the afternoon liturgy. He commended the couples for accepting the vocation of marriage and quoted Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
In his homily, which focused on love, Father Mushi said that without love there is no relationship. Marriage, he added, is an everyday task in which a man and a woman strive to grow in unison.
“Love is about sacrifices, sharing and caring for one another,” Father Mushi said. “Love is not easy; in fact, it’s fragile.
“We are here today to pray for all marriages and ask God for strength to help strengthen our love for our families and our children.
“Marriages,” he concluded, “need God’s grace, blessing and God’s approval.”
During the liturgy, Father Mushi asked the husbands and wives to hold each other’s hands and to turn toward their spouse to renew their vows. Several wives shed tears of joy as they concluded reenacting their nuptials.
Victor and Carmen Compress of St. Lucy’s parish, the Bronx, have been married for 32 years and are the parents of two grown children. “It was beautiful seeing so many couples expressing their love together,” Mrs. Compress said. She acknowledged the work of Movimiento Matrimonial Catolico in helping organize the liturgy, among other gatherings, that she believes strengthens the faith “and that helps many people like ourselves live a married life that expresses God’s truth and love in the world.”
Maximo and Marcia Correa are the founders and coordinators of Movimiento Matrimonial Catolico, based at St. Angela Merici parish in the Bronx. They have been married 31 years and are the parents of a grown daughter. “As Catholics, it is our duty to always respect the sanctity of marriage and to always promote the sacrament of marriage,” Maximo Correa said.
“Our goal as an organization is to have many couples in the union of holy matrimony because strong marriages are the foundations of our families, and in turn, we must be examples for future generations.
“I feel very blessed at the turnout here today despite the rainy weather,” he said. “We hope that next year we have even more people that we fill the cathedral to its capacity.”
At the conclusion of the liturgy, seven newlywed couples and members of Movimiento Matrimonial Catolico were recognized with a gift commemorating their marriages in 2017. The Catholic Marriage Movement is present in 10 parishes throughout the archdiocese.