World Marriage Day began in 1983 and is celebrated every second Sunday of February in dioceses across the United States and beyond. This year, Valentine’s Day, February 14, coincides with World Marriage Day; the first observance honors romantic love and the second the even more romantic idea of lifelong commitment and fidelity. In any pleasure-oriented culture, it is essential to proclaim that merely romantic love is not the pinnacle of human happiness. World Marriage Day redirects us to the truth that healthy romance leads to marriage, and that marriage leads to families that are domestic churches that form souls for Christ, ultimately bringing them to heaven.
This celebration of sacramental marriages, however, does not emphasize marriage to the detriment of other vocations. Its founders explain that World Marriage Day “proclaims the value of Marriage and Holy Orders in the Church and in the world,” and extols the call to single, celibate life, too. Every Christian is called to support each other in their respective Spirit-inspired vocations, but the purpose of World Marriage Day is to highlight the beauty of marriage and to honor husbands and wives for their faithfulness and sacrifices – those married couples among us now, widows and widowers among us, as well as those married couples who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.
With prayerful best wishes,
Fr. John Mahoney