WASHINGTON-In a letter sent to all U.S. bishops on January 16, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, hailed National Marriage Week USA (February 7-14) and World Marriage Day (Sunday, February 8) as opportunities "to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples."
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.
In his letter, Bishop Malone identified 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. He also encouraged participation in the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, and shared a preaching resource for World Marriage Day. A bulletin insert is also available for World Marriage Day or subsequent Sundays, with a focus on the social benefits of marriage. The preaching resource and bulletin insert, along with Bishop Malone's letter, are available on the USCCB website: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/national-marriage-week-2015.cfm.
Bishop Malone also expressed eager anticipation for the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, September 22-27. A preparatory catechesis and other information are available at http://www.worldmeeting2015.org.
The USCCB is providing a daily virtual marriage retreat for National Marriage Week, available through the For Your Marriage Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/foryourmarriage. The theme of this year's retreat is Pope Francis's words of wisdom to married couples.