WASHINGTON, DC - National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day are opportunities "to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage," said the chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
"Marriage, both as a natural institution and as a Christian sacrament, is an irreplaceable good for society and all people," wrote Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, in a letter to his brother bishops. "Our Committee remains ever grateful for the ongoing efforts in dioceses and parishes to promote, strengthen and defend marriage, and to accompany married couples in their joys and trials."
National Marriage Week USA is celebrated February 7-14, and World Marriage Day is celebrated February 14.
The USCCB provides numerous resources that can be of assistance to bishops, priests and lay leaders in promoting, strengthening and defending the gift of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman, including the websites For Your Marriage, Por Tu Matrimonio, and Marriage: Unique for a Reason. Bishop Malone encouraged participation in the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty. The letter and additional resources are available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/national-marriage-week.cfm.
A daily virtual marriage retreat for National Marriage Week is also available through Facebook: www.facebook.com/foryourmarriage. The theme of this year's retreat is marriage and mercy, given the year-long Jubilee of Mercy. There will also be a National Marriage Week contest available through multiple USCCB social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The celebration of National Marriage Week in the U.S. began in 2002, originating from Marriage Week International. World Marriage Day, held the second Sunday of February each year, was started in 1983 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.