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BOSTON -- As part of their ongoing effort to highlight the beauty of marriage, the four bishops of Massachusetts have distributed a new poster which should begin appearing in parishes throughout the state in the coming weeks. The poster features married couples -- young and old, some pictured with children -- and the words “Marriage: where love and life transform the world.”
The current culture has lost the sense of beauty of marriage, said Angela Franks, who along with her husband David, serves as coordinator of the marriage initiative launched by the bishops last June.
Over the past 20 years there has been more than a 60 percent decline in the number of marriages recorded in the archdiocese. There were 12,274 weddings in the archdiocese in 1986 and 4,519 in 2006.
“There are an awful lot of images of marriage and sexuality out there in the broader culture, and most of them don’t present marriage as beautiful because they don’t present the truth about marriage,” Franks said.
“The poster is designed to give people another image of marriage,” she added.
The poster and a new Web site are part of the wider marriage initiative, entitled “The Future Depends on Love,” which was started by the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the public policy arm for the four dioceses of the Commonwealth.
The initiative was suggested by the MCC’s Family Life/Pro-Life Committee. In 2005, the MCC created the subcommittee, along with five others, in an effort to work more efficiently.
The campaign of prayer and education on the vocation of marriage began on June 22, 2007 with a Mass celebrated on the feast of St. Thomas More, the patron saint of troubled marriages.
That day was also marked by the distribution of 1 million prayer cards to parishes throughout the state. The cards bore an image of the Holy Family and a special prayer for marriage. The prayer asks God to help his people to treasure the self-giving love of husband and wife, support spouses in their vocation and uphold the institution of marriage in society.
The initiative’s new Web site also features a survey for Catholics in the state to help the committee prepare parish educational materials that will be distributed in the spring. Pastors will have the opportunity to attend information sessions to help them implement the materials, which will include a video on the vocation to marriage produced by the Knights of Columbus.
The initiative will produce its own multi-part interview series in cooperation with CatholicTV to debut in the fall.
“We have to understand marriage as a gift from God where true love generates new life. Marriage is lifelong and life-giving,” said Franks. “We want to remind people what a wonderful blessing it is.”
Society cannot exist without the faithful love of husbands and wives. Marriage is the path to happiness that God has planned for most people, she added.
“We hope to recall to people’s minds what an adventure holiness is and that for most people, we pursue holiness within marriage,” she said.
For more information about the marriage initiative or to fill out the survey, visit www.MassCatholicMarriage.org.