Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Feb 8, 2023

Today is World Marriage Day and is celebrated by many people who believe that marriage is important in the life of our society even if their reasons are not rooted in Judeo-Christian beliefs.  Look at what some very secular sources have to say about the importance of marriage.  “…We should provide the facts about the importance of marriage as a matter of child welfare and economic aspiration. As a society, we have launched highly effective public education campaigns on much less momentous issues, from smoking to recycling… For now, the decline of marriage is our most ignored national crisis…” –TIME Magazine.  “The Brookings Institution says that if we had the marriage rate today that we had in 1970, there would be a 25 percent drop in poverty. The Heritage Foundation says that marriage drops the probability of a child living in poverty by 82 percent.” — FoxNews   “National Marriage Week presents a chance to focus on rebuilding a culture of marriage for this generation.”  — NEWSWEEK magazine.

As Christians and Catholics we have much more reason to stress the importance of marriage as a very key part of God’s plan for our creation and our salvation.  Marriage is a gift from God to teach us about love.  St. John said that God is love.  The Book of Genesis teaches us that God made man male and female and that He made them in His image and likeness.  God made us to love; to love Him above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  God made marriage to be a union between one man and one woman for the purpose of sharing a life together and to bring new life into the world.  A life that is loved and nurtured by a mother and a father.  This is God’s plan and because it is from God it is what is truly best for us, even though at times human beings think that their way is better.

We must seek to understand that marriage is a way that God continues to reveal His love for us in our everyday lives.  Marriage between one man and one woman reveals to us the love that God has for us as His children.  The Old and the New Testaments speak of the relationship between God and His people as a relationship between a husband and wife.  This image is used repeatedly in the Bible and Jesus Himself uses the very same image to teach us about the Kingdom of God and our salvation.  Marriage is a very sacred gift from God to help us on every level of our existence and to help us to live out our faith in Him while being His witnesses in the world to draw others to His love.  Marriage must be promoted as good for our world and for our families.  Marriage is of great value when it comes to raising children to be happy and successful in this life and in the life to come.  There are many studies done on the benefits of marriage for both the husband and wife and the children as well.  Children benefit much more when the mother and father are together in the home.  Marriage is proven to reduce poverty in the lives of the parents and the children as they grow up.  Married people live long and healthier lives.  It should be no surprise that marriage helps to make people’s lives better since marriage comes from God and God only wants what is best for us.

The blessings of marriage become even more evident when a husband and wife pray together every day, even if some days it may only be for two minutes; the time that it may take to pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and a Glory Be together.  Whenever a couple prays together the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage is renewed in their lives and helps them to live out the marriage vows they made to each other and to God.  Their coming together in prayer takes them back to their wedding day as they prayed together before God.  If a married couple does this every day, they will know the presence of God’s love in their marriage and deeper awareness of their own call to holiness.  Let us pray for all married couples and those preparing for marriage that God will bless and guide them and help them to make Him the center of their marriage and family.

Our IRON CHEF COMPETITION – FUNDRAISER sponsored by our St. Vincent de Paul Society was a great success with over 300 people in attendance and 10 chefs competing.  The winning chef was Shannon McNeill and Lucas VanMeter who prepared Lemongrass Chicken with Vegetarian Lo Mein.  Thanks to all the chefs who competed.  Approximately $70,000 was raised and will go for the work of our St. Vincent de Paul Society feeding and caring for those who are in need.  May God bless and reward all those who helped to make this event such a huge success.  Many thanks to all!

Fr. Joe Labak