VATICAN CITY — Attention engaged couples: if you have already completed or are still attending marriage preparation courses, would you like to spend St. Valentine’s Day at an audience with Pope Francis?
The Pontifical Council for the Family is sponsoring the event (“The Joy of a ‘Yes’ that’s Forever”) in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall Feb. 14.
Couples need to apply by Jan. 30, 2014 by contacting their diocesan marriage and family office or by emailing the pontifical council directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the family council, has a special tie to the St. Valentine tradition. As a former bishop of Terni, he is a successor to the third-century martyred bishop of Terni, St. Valentine. The archbishop, in fact, would celebrate a “promise Mass” with engaged couples in the town’s Basilica of St. Valentine on the Sunday before the feast day.
Now the feast day will get special attention at the Vatican.
Pope Francis will undoubtedly have some good advice for couples, especially given what he has said so far:
Those who celebrate the sacrament [of marriage] say, “I promise to be true to you, in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honour you all the days of my life.” At that moment, the couple does not know what will happen, nor what joys and pains await them. They are setting out, like Abraham, on a journey together. And that is what marriage is!
Setting out and walking together, hand in hand, putting yourselves in the Lord’s powerful hands. Hand in hand, always and for the rest of your lives. And do not pay attention to this makeshift culture, which can shatter our lives…
…In order to have a healthy family, three words need to be used. And I want to repeat these three words: please, thank you, sorry. Three essential words!
We say please so as not to be forceful in family life: “May I please do this? Would you be happy if I did this?” We do this with a language that seeks agreement.
We say thank you, thank you for love! But be honest with me, how many times do you say thank you to your wife, and you to your husband? How many days go by without uttering this word, thanks!
And the last word: sorry. We all make mistakes and on occasion someone gets offended in the marriage, in the family, and sometimes – I say – plates are smashed, harsh words are spoken but please listen to my advice: don’t ever let the sun set without reconciling. Peace is made each day in the family: “Please forgive me”, and then you start over. Please, thank you, sorry! … Let us say these words in our families! To forgive one another each day!
— Pope Francis meeting with families Oct. 26, 2013