The annual Mass sponsored by the archdiocesan Catholic Marriage Movement (Movimiento Matrimonial Católico) was celebrated Feb. 13 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with a message from the celebrant that our homes are the first place “where we must cultivate the most profound of Christian values.” About 270 couples renewed their marriage vows.
“Eternal Father, extend your protective hand over these your children,” Bishop José Antonio Canales Motiño of the Diocese of Danlí, Honduras, prayed during the World Marriage Day Spanish Mass, “so that throughout their married life they continue to communicate the gifts of your love, one for the other as a sign of your presence; and with their children form a holy family.”
During his homily, Bishop Canales said, “For me, this is a gift, to receive this invitation from the archdiocese to be here with you to celebrate this Mass…It is a precious occasion to go to the roots of marriage and of the family. Marriage and family is not a human invention; it has its roots precisely in our faith, in the Book of Genesis when God created the first man and the first woman.”
When the Lord united man and woman, “marriage was born—and when the Lord told them to multiply, that is when the family was born. And so for us Christians, marriage has its origin in God, our Lord,” the bishop said.
He went on to note that Christ came into the world by being born into a family, becoming part of the Holy Family, “to become the Reconciler, the Savior, the Redeemer…It was a marriage that accompanied Him from the first moments.”
Bishop Canales explained that “there is no perfect family; that does not exist. We have virtues and we have defects, but we as Christians have the treasure of allowing Jesus to enter our homes.”
When it was time for renewal of vows, Bishop Canales said, “We ask that the couples (about 270) who are married through the sacrament of matrimony stand to renew your vows; please face each other.” The couples, led by the bishop, renewed their sacred vows.
The bishop told the congregation, “Let us all pray for the couples (about 120) here who have not received the sacrament of matrimony, “for the Lord to grant them the grace of receiving this sacrament one day soon.” (Those couples are married civilly.)
The Prayer of the Faithful included praying for all couples who were present. “And we are praying for all families of the world,” Bishop Canales said. The intentions included praying for the souls of people who have died of Covid-19, and for the health of those who are ill with the virus. Some of the couples were accompanied by their children and other loved ones.
Jose and Dominga Rodriguez, both born in the Dominican Republic, were among the couples who renewed their marriage vows. Their home parish is St. Raymond in the Bronx. “It was a beautiful Mass with a beautiful message from the bishop,” Jose Rodriguez, 56, told Catholic New York. “We have renewed our vows several times including four times through the Catholic Marriage Movement. We have been married for 31 years.”
He said, “It is very important to us, to renew our vows; to remind us day to day the importance of the sacrament of marriage; with each renewal we understand more the significance of our commitment.” The couple raised three sons and one daughter; they have one granddaughter.
Toward the end of Mass, organizers Maximo and Marcia Correa expressed their gratitude. “Thank you to all of you,” Maximo Correa said, giving special thanks to Bishop Canales and the concelebrants for their guidance and support.
Mrs. Correa, after congratulating all the couples, read the names of four couples who, through the Catholic Marriage Movement, received the sacrament of marriage in 2021. Before the Mass, they had received a cross from the CMM as a symbol of their union and commitment. The four couples, who were asked to stand, received applause from the supportive faithful. They were Luis and Johanna Gurerreo, Yerlin and Valery Liriano, Rafael and Marilyn Garcia, and Alexander and Viviana Avendaño.
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