On Saturday 12 February last, at the Shrine of the Saint Valentine in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Whitefriar Street, Dublin, Bishop Michael Router prayed with and blessed four engaged couples at the casket containing holy relics of Saint Valentine.
Bishop Router is vice-president of Accord, the Catholic marriage care service, and in the picture above he is blessing engaged couple Aisling McEntee and Daniel Queeney from Dunboyne, Co Meath.
During the blessing, Bishop Router delivered an address in which he highlighted the work of Accord. He said, “The Accord organisation, over the past sixty years, has helped engaged couples preparing for marriage to deepen their understanding of the sacrament and give them some very practical help and advice to navigate the unique and shared journey that is married life.”
He continued, “Today, as we approach the Feast of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of love, who gave his life to defend the importance of marriage, we gather here in Whitefriar’s Church, before the altar that contains his holy relics, to impart the special blessing of rings to the engaged couples here with us who will soon be married in the Catholic Church. It is a moment of joy for each of the couples present as they await with excitement their wedding day, which will be the most significant moment in their lives.
The Bishop emphasised the difficulties that many young couples face today. He said, “Unfortunately, life is not always easy for young couples today. Employment is not always secure, issues like the ever increasing cost of living, the scarcity of affordable housing, and the cost of childcare, can seem like insurmountable obstacles. Often the expectations placed upon a young couple by themselves, or by others, can be unrealistic.
“In the interest of the common good, it is incumbent on all of us to support engaged and married couples by trying to create a society where wealth and possessions are not considered to be the most important of goals, but rather where the quality of relationships within marriage and family life are seen as the true indicators of success.”