Fr. Bry Shields, Pastor
Marriage is a mission!
Every husband and wife have a mission in the world: to have an exclusive and permanent love for each other and to bring forth children and nurture them in the most basic and indispensable setting — the family. Christians share not only in this natural responsibility common to all married couples, but also in a special mission given by their dignity as baptized disciples of Christ. Quoting the Book of Genesis, St. Paul explains the church’s profound reverence for the sacrament of marriage, and the supernatural mission it entails: “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church…” (Ephesians 5:31).
It is the responsibility of all baptized Catholics who wish to marry to offer their marriage to the Lord, to become a sign of His love for the Church. In the Archdiocese of Mobile, this duty is discharged by contacting a priest or deacon to perform the wedding rite (or at least to be present at another church building when dispensation has been granted). The engaged couple will be guided through a process of marriage preparation in order to be equipped for taking on the vocation of marriage. During this time, the engaged couple will participate in a retreat, learn the beauty of the divine plan for procreation, and be mentored by an experienced couple in the parish. Once an engagement to marry is made, the bride or groom should contact the parish right away, at least six months prior to the marriage.
Pastors have a special obligation to care for all married couples. In this issue of the Impala Informer, you will learn of different ministries we have to strengthen married couples. We want to help not only those couples whose marriage is strong, but also any couples who find themselves in trouble or distress, as well as those persons who have gone through a civil divorce. Please be assured that our love and prayers are with all couples, and I personally will always make myself available to any husband or wife who feels the need for assistance.
May we all join together to pray for all married couples, that they may have the strength to carry out their sublime vocation to be a witness to Christ’s undying love for His church.