Today, on the second Sunday of February, we celebrate the World Marriage Day. That special Day honors the Sacrament of Marriage; husband and wife united in Christ as the head of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in married life.
The World Marriage Day Symbol seen above speaks readily of the role and the values Marriage Encounter proclaims. Husband and wife are symbolically seen as two candle-like figures, reminding us that married love calls us to help enlighten the world. The couple is joined by a heart, focusing on love as the power that comes from God and fosters unity within the couple generating the capacity to be life-giving and inspire others to fruitfulness.
The theme for WMD has been permanently adopted as "Love One Another." This phrase is the commandment given us by Jesus in John: 14. It speaks to us in a simple but challenging way of how God wishes us to live. Loving one another is a daily decision – simple, but challenging.
Please use these special prayers for the couples married by the sacrament of matrimony:
God our Father, Bless these couples gathered here today. We thank you for their long and happy marriage For the children they have brought into the world and for all the good they have done. As you blessed the love of their youth, continue to bless their life together with gifts of peace and joy. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Father all holy, the faithful one, you ask for faithfulness and respond with fidelity to your covenant; fill with your blessings your servants who are celebrating today the joy of their married life and renewing their commitment to one another. You live in eternity with the Son and the Holy Spirit in oneness of life and communion of love; grant that your servants be mindful of the covenant of love they pledged to each other through the sacrament of marriage, make them holy and rich with your gifts. At Cana in Galilee, when a new family was beginning you blessed it with your first miracle, changing water into wine; alleviate the sorrows and worries of these families and change them into joy; grant them serenity in good times and bad and the will to stay close to Christ all the days of their lives. Through your own obedience to Mary and Joseph you consecrated family life, make these families holy by your presence; grant that all husbands and wives may be witnesses to the wonders of your Son’s love. O God, in the beginning you made man and woman, so that they might enter a communion of life and love. You likewise blessed the union of these couples, so that they might reflect the union of Christ with his Church: Look with kindness on the married couples and in your mercy bless and renew their marriage covenant; increase your love in them, and strengthen their bond of peace, so that surrounded by their families, they may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
History of World Marriage Day
The idea of celebrating marriage began in Baton Rouge, La., in 1981, when couples encouraged the mayor, the governor and the Bishop to proclaim St. Valentines Day as "We Believe in Marriage Day". The event was so successful that the idea was presented to and adopted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s national leadership. By 1982, 43 Governors officially proclaimed the day and celebrations spread to U.S. military bases in several foreign countries. In 1983 the name was changed to "World Marriage Day", designated to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday in February. In 1993, his Holiness, Pope John Paul II imparted his Apostolic Blessings on World Marriage Day. WMD celebrations continue to grow and spread to more countries and faith expressions every year.