Strengthening the Vocation to Married Life

09-03-2017Weekly Bulletin LetterFr. Robert Seraph Aliunzi, AJ

One of the intentions presented to us by our bishop as we began the 54-Day Novena in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of our Lady of Fatima, is to pray for the strengthening of the vocation to married life. This is not only because we recognize the sacredness of this vocation but most especially because this institution is currently under intense attack by the evil one. Allow me first of all to congratulate the many couples who have shared their anniversary dates with us over the last couple of months since I became your pastor. What a beautiful witness they are to those who are not yet married, those in the midst of working through the ups and downs of marriage and family life, and to those whose marriages have sadly fallen apart. When man and woman choose love and a life together in marriage, it is easy to dream about that “Happily Ever After.” The reality is that it is two individuals with different personalities, families of origin, expectations, and life experiences and at times even cultures who must choose daily to place the other first and the marriage before all else. It is hard work but good work, because you have the love of your life to share this beautiful burden with. As time passes and the children come, or the struggle with infertility, there are added pressures that can often realign our focus and get our priorities out of whack. Work and the need for money can become a higher focus than our partner. Children are demanding of our time, as well as the plethora of activities available to them, can further stretch the distance between husband and wife. It can feel like you are on a crazy hamster wheel that won’t slow down. Unless intentional work is done to make your marriage partner first, and the committed practice of your Catholic faith a priority, couples can easily begin to slide further away from each other. It can happen slowly at first and then before too long, you are living independent lives under the same roof. It is not meant to be this way. This is definitely not God’s plan for husband and wife. Joyful, satisfying, fun and amazing marriages are possible and obtainable.

Here at St Andrew the Apostle, we strive to offer broad opportunities for couples of all ages to enrich their married life, grow deeper in faith, and love more authentically. How often do you take the time to stop the routine and make a date night just for each other? Do you and your spouse take advantage of the offerings here especially designed for engaged and married couples?

On September 8th we have a beautiful faith opportunity in the Agape Experience, a one-hour prayer encounter. Fr. Jude McGuire will speak on the Gift of Mercy in Marriage, followed by adoration and the availability of confession. Think about doing this for your marriage, together. Barb Lishko, our very able Director of Marriage Ministries and I, invite you to consider participating in this wonderful event.

Additionally, couples who find themselves faced with struggles that are getting harder to overcome are invited to seek help here in our offices and the marriage office. There are ways we can help you rediscover each other again and strengthen your commitment to one another.

We are also working on offering a workshop for personal healing for those who have suffered the pain of divorce, that you may find peace and renewed joy.

St. Teresa of Calcutta reminds us, “Love to be real, it must cost, it must hurt, it must empty us of self.” St. Frances de Sales writes that love “requires a radical reordering of priorities and relationships.” All of this is possible because we believe in the God who is love.

We are here to help. Let God infuse his infinite, life-giving love into your marriage.

Finally, please, do not postpone your love for each other!

In Christ,

Fr. Robert