Dear Friends in Christ,
Last weekend I offered a Nuptial Mass for a wonderful young couple named Austin and Sarah. I met them when they were students at the Boston University Catholic Center when I was the chaplain. It was such a beautiful wedding. I was especially moved by how they continue to maintain, deepen, and live a beautiful Catholic friendship with so many others whom they met at the Catholic Center. It was an event marked by deep faith, great joy, and just a lot of fun.
Before I went out to California for their wedding, I spoke with another guy I know from BU. Patrick and Sheila want to receive the Sacrament of Marriage.
About a week before that, I met with Kenny and Angela. I met Kenny when he was around six years old and I was his pastor! Kenny and Angela want to receive the Sacrament of Marriage.
That same week I was also happy to meet Brendan and Lindsay who are from right here in Stoneham. They want to receive the Sacrament of Marriage.
In the days ahead, I will be meeting with Andrew and Christina and with Andrew and Victoria. They too will be receiving the Sacrament of Marriage here at St. Patrick Parish.
Over the course of the past few decades, the number of marriages has declined dramatically, and even many Catholics see “the church wedding” as just one option among many. In doing so, these couples are depriving themselves of the extraordinary graces that come through the Sacrament of Marriage. For Catholics, we understand that marriage is something that is so much bigger than just these two individuals. I think that many people seem to think that “a church wedding” is just some rule imposed upon us by the Church.
I always wish that more young Catholics understood the beauty, the richness, and the absolute grandeur of the Catholic Church’s teachings on Holy Matrimony. I wish that every young Catholic who was preparing for marriage could have the same depth of faith that Austin and Sarah had this past weekend. They knew that they were entering into a union that is sacred and incredibly serious. They had a joy that can only come from God himself.
While marriage itself is taking a lot of hits in the present culture, I am so happy to see (and to report to you) that there are signs of faith and love out there! What we Catholics believe and teach about Marriage is more beautiful and more profound than anything you will see about marriage anywhere else.
As I looked around last weekend at the purity, the love, the seriousness, the joy, the friendship, the devotion, the faith, and the love that filled those days together, I thought to myself, “The world really needs a renewed understanding and love for marriage.” Holy and good marriages make for holy and good men and women. They make for holy and good families. They make for holy and good parishes. They make us all more aware of God’s presence in our life and make us more aware of his love for us.
Another reason I am so grateful to be Catholic: The Catholic Church LOVES Marriage.
Your Brother in Christ,
Fr. David Barnes