On Saturday 23 May Cardinal Vincent celebrated a special Mass in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Matrimony in Westminster Cathedral at 3pm.
Over 500 couples were present who were celebrating significant anniversaries, of whom 132 were celebrating golden anniversaries. Another 34 couples were marking their diamond jubilees, including Pat and Johanna Harkins whose anniversary was on that day. Of those present Mr and Mrs Mojer had been married for the longest, celebrating 67 years of married life.
In his homily Cardinal Vincent spoke about the importance of this celebration and their witness to marriage in society in light of the legal changes to the definition of marriage. ‘These changes in the law do nothing to dampen our confidence in the deeper, richer vision of marriage expressed in our Catholic faith and in your lives. We celebrate this vision, this invitation to a true pathway of the fullness of life, in our Mass today.’
He went on to reflect on the three blessings that are given to the husband and wife at the end of the marriage rite. In the first blessing, we are reminded of the foundation of marriage in God with Christ at its heart. The Cardinal explained this saying, ‘marriage is truly part of God’s creative genius, the wonderful complementarity of female and male, or woman and man, that causes us to say, “yes, she, he, is my better half!”’
In this special year when marriage and family life is a special focus for the Church, Cardinal Vincent invited those couples present to share their valuable experience to help him prepare for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops in October.
The Cardinal also encouraged the couples to consider getting involved with an initiative called “Explore” which facilitates a dialogue between a married couple and a group of adolescents in which the realities of married love and lifelong commitment are shared and explored.