Pope Francis is calling Bishops to Rome in October 2014 to discuss the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life in the face of modern realities.


As we move towards this important Extraordinary Synod, The Hallam News will be looking at the vocation of marriage.  There will be details of help available in the Diocese for couples preparing for marriage and a consideration of how couples can live out their vocation in a marriage that is fully alive.


Our Diocese is blessed with many couples who have enjoyed and continue to enjoy a long and happy marriage.  We want to demonstrate our Diocesan commitment to marriage and family life as we pray for the work of the Bishops in October 2014.


Weddings are a key feature of our family, parish and diocesan life.  Charles and Jane Perryman have thirty years’ experience of working with married and engaged couples.  In preparing for our focus on Matrimony Charles and Jane say …


“The sacrament of marriage is not just about getting married in church and then carrying on as if nothing had changed in our Christian vocation.  The vocation arising from baptism does not end with the reception of the sacrament any more than the vocation to priesthood ends with ordination.  Similarly with the sacrament of matrimony, the vocation calls Catholic married couples to live in a particular way.  This way will be different from our baptismal call.


In Ephesians 5:31, 32 Paul likens the one flesh union of husband and wife to the love between Christ and the Church.  That seems to place an obligation on or a call to married couples to live their married relationship in such a way as to make that love visible and tangible.  Thus, the vocation to the sacrament of matrimony calls us to be the best married couple we can possibly be.  That is to say that it is simply not good enough to be content to be an ordinary couple; to be content to get along with one another or to live parallel lives, however holy those individual lives may be.  In marriage we live out our vocation in and through the marriage relationship.  In other words we should strive to be the best married couple we can be.  In that way we will enable people around us to experience the love of God; not just to see it but actually to experience the love of God in us.  That seems like an amazing call, an enormous challenge and an awesome responsibility for married couples.”


Charles and Jane argue that, “The overarching finding that has emerged from research is that the key element that holds intimate couple relationships together is the strength of the emotional bond between the couple.  The strength of the emotional bond could be summed up as the confidence each partner has in finding a positive response to their, usually unspoken, questions “When I need you will you be there for me?”  “When I am sad or anxious or lonely, can I tell you and know for certain you will understand?”  “When I am hurting will you be with me and hold me and soothe me?”  “Will you support me to grow and develop into the person God wants me to be even if it is different from what I am now and not become scared that you will lose me?”  “Do I come first in your order of priorities?”  Couples do not often ask these questions out loud but sometimes they might think them!


It is by nurturing the emotional bond between us that we will build a safe and secure relationship where we can grow in intimacy with each other.  Christ and his Church live in an intimate relationship.  God lives in an intimate relationship in the Holy Trinity.  Similarly we, as married couples are called to intimacy.  What that involves and how we sustain and deepen intimacy we will explore over the next few months.”