Cardinal Vincent celebrated a Mass in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of Matrimony at Westminster Cathedral on 7 June 2014. Over 600 couples, between them celebrating a total of over 20,000 years of marriage were in attendance at this 7th annual Mass at the invitation of the Cardinal.
In his homily, the Cardinal gave thanks and rejoiced at the love expressed in celebration of these marriages, ‘Love is the true and lasting prize, the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
He reflected on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the family, ‘The life of Jesus, the flesh of Jesus, is the story of a family, the family of Nazareth. The story of that family is the story of the Holy Spirit: a story which is to be the story of every human family.
‘When a family is centred on Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, divine Love, flows freely within it, love given and received, nurtured and faithfully sustained.’
He went on to say, ‘When we are centred on Jesus in our family lives, the Holy Spirit fashions within us the capacity to forgive, the readiness to be selfless, and the strength to be faithful. When we are centred on Jesus in our family lives, the Holy Spirit fashions within us a love that is ever-generous in the giving of new life, in the accepting of new neighbours, in readiness to embrace visitors and strangers, in compassion for all who are needy and lost.
‘Today, as we celebrate his great love for us, in the outpouring of his Spirit, let us be resolved to turn to him again, to make time and space for him in our lives.’
Noting the great example couples set by their witness, Cardinal Vincent encouraged them to ‘pass on this great gift to your children and especially your grandchildren for whom you are such a source of wisdom and wonder. Teach them how to pray, for in doing so you obey the Lord’s command and offer a divine teaching, better than any other teaching you can give.’
He expressed his gratitude, ‘I thank you for the witness of your lives, of your tenacity to each other and to your Lord. Yours is a voice which is much needed in our world and in our Church.’
During the Mass, the couples renewed and reaffirmed their commitment to each other, giving thanks for to each other for sharing their lives together and vowing to continue to love and stand by each other.