February 16, 2024

Spring Marriage Supplement

Be transformed: Church offers opportunity for marriage accompaniment

By Gabriela Ross

Gabriela RossOne of the most popular readings at weddings is 1 Cor 13: “Love is patient, love is kind … .” A lesser known but favorite reading of mine is Rom 12:1-2, 9-18: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. … Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.”

I love this reading because it reminds married couples of the source of their love, the meaning of their vocation and the core of their mission toward one another and for the world.

Whether a couple is preparing for their vocation of marriage, embracing the joy of newly married love or perfecting their love through the joys and trials of life, this Scripture passage provides an opportunity to get back to the basics, remember the power of God’s love and grace in our relationships, and be encouraged for the work of charity in the world, which is the vocation of all the laity.

While this reading calls married couples back to the source of their vocation, the Church envisions that couples will be supported in their married vocation.

Pope Francis explains: “The goal is to walk an important stretch of road together with couples in the journey of life, even after the wedding, especially during moments of crisis or discouragement” (preface to Catechumenal Pathways for Married Life, Dicastery of Laity, Family and Life, 2022).

The pope is painting a vision of accompaniment for married life. Indeed, in 2022, the universal Church was called to reflect on pastoral ministry to married couples before and in the years after their wedding. The Church envisions that “couples need to be invited to become part of the ordinary family ministry in their parish or the Church community with which they have established some connection” (Catechumenal Pathways, #84).

What does this mean? As a Church, we should not only be preparing couples for marriage, but also supporting them in their married life, at the local parish level. This is a form of pastoral accompaniment and truly a moment of ongoing evangelization and catechesis.

In the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life, we partner with pastors and parish leaders to create a vision for marriage ministry at the local parish level. Through our website and monthly newsletter, we spread the word about great events and opportunities for married couples to grow in their vocation. We also invite couples celebrating a milestone anniversary to participate in the annual Archdiocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass, to be renewed in their joy and commitment to their wedding vows.

In this issue of The Criterion, I invite you to learn about the apostolates and conferences available in central and southern Indiana to support the married couples in your community.

If your parish is interested in supporting the evangelization, catechesis and pastoral accompaniment of married couples, we would love to connect with you and have a conversation.

(Gabriela Ross serves as director of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The Office of Marriage and Family Life exists to promote the vocation, restoration and mission of the family. Learn more about this ministry at marriageandfamily.archindy.org.)

See more from our Spring Marriage Supplement

Local site Links: