Archbishop Vincent Nichols affirms marriage and family life in Liverpool

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“The stability of our society depends directly on the stability of family life”

In a service of Evening Prayer to celebrate marriage and family life the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, has given a strong affirmation of the Sacrament of Marriage and encouraged people to promote it. The annual celebration at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King heard the Archbishop say: “it is important that we promote marriage, offering real encouragement to young people and young couples to make the journey into marriage”.

He also drew a direct connection between marriage, family life and the stability of society saying: “The stability of our society depends directly on the stability of family life. This is why marriage, as the strongest foundation for stable family life and the best environment for the growth of children, is to be supported in our country today if we are really to pursue, both politically and socially, the genuine common good of all”.

He also affirmed the importance of the presence of God in marriage: “a marriage without God is no more than a matter of personal choice and of personal satisfaction. In those circumstances, there is far less reason to work hard at a marriage when that initial satisfaction has gone and the personal choice might seem to have been a mistake. So today, in this wonderful celebration, we again affirm that only the presence of God makes clear the true nature of marriage. Only God’s grace can complete and renew such a relationship. Only then does a relationship become a sacrament which can speak eloquently to our world of the full vocation of married life.”

During the celebration Bibles which were presented to families at last year’s service were handed on to others for use during the coming year. Children attending the service presented members of the congregation with gifts of roses as a sign that children are themselves a gift to our community. Among those remembered in prayer were the newly married, those celebrating an anniversary, those experiencing difficulties in their relationships, the widowed, the divorced, the separated and the bereaved and those who struggle with the issues of our time such as unemployment, money worries and time pressures. There were also prayers for an increased awareness of marriage and family spirituality.

A congregation of over 500 welcomed Archbishop Nichols back to Liverpool and were able to greet him personally after the service.

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Archbishop Nichols’ homily at Choral Evening Prayer to celebrate Marriage and Family Life – 14 Feb 2010 (pdf)