Hundreds of married couples were encouraged to put Christ at the center of their lives at a Mass Feb. 10 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“If you do this, you will always have a holy marriage…Men, love your wives as Christ loves the Church. The love must be total, must be complete,” said Father Vincent Druding in his homily for the 550 couples attending.
The annual World Marriage Day Mass for Hispanic/Latino couples was offered in Spanish by Father Druding, who was also the homilist.
Father Druding, who serves as a parochial vicar of Holy Cross parish in the Bronx, told a story of a young couple seeking marriage advice from the woman’s grandparents, and how significant it is to receive matrimonial wisdom from older couples.
After the renewal of vows with Church-married couples standing and facing each other while holding hands, Father Druding led a special prayer to the Holy Spirit for all the couples, again with husbands and wives standing and facing each other and holding hands.
The Mass was sponsored by El Movimiento Matrimonial Católico (Catholic Marriage Movement), in collaboration with the archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry. The lead coordinators are Maximo and Marcia Correa.
“We do this every year because there is a need to demonstrate real matrimony— the marriage that God created from the beginning,” Maximo Correa told CNY after Mass. “And so we come here to the cathedral and have this Mass, and we demonstrate with our families what is a true Christian marriage, with difficulties, but with Christ at the center.”
In remarks near the end of the afternoon Mass, Correa thanked Father Druding as well as others who helped to make the celebration possible and the joyful couples in the pews. Many of the couples posed for group photos after the Mass on the front steps of the cathedral.
The annual Mass began in 2007 at St. Angela Merici Church in the Bronx, and has been celebrated at the cathedral since 2017. El Movimiento Matrimonial Católico was established in 2000 at St. Angela Merici. It continues to hold marriage retreats and support meetings.
Alexander and Fatima Peña were among the couples that renewed their marriage vows at the cathedral Mass. They are parishioners of St. Helena’s in the Bronx. They have a son and daughter, both in their 20s.
“It was very important to share this moment with my husband, to participate in this Mass,” Mrs. Peña, 49, told CNY after Mass. “We must always put Christ at the center, and renewing the faith and the communion between husband and wife is important.”
Her husband, 50, added, “I am here for this beautiful occasion with my wife; it’s a beautiful day.” The Peñas will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary July 2; they were married at Incarnation Church in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.
Hipolito and Antonia Garcia were also among the couples that renewed their vows. They are parishioners of St. Matthew parish in Brooklyn, where they were married 10 years ago; they’ve been together for 25 years. They have six children, ages three to 23.
“It was important for us to renew our vows of matrimony,” said Garcia, 43. “We have received the blessing of God through the sacrament of marriage, and we were here today to once again receive that blessing.”
Mrs. Garcia, 40, said she was touched by Father Druding’s homily, especially when the priest recalled witnessing a man’s love for his dying wife, which he expressed in prayer, support and love, as he stood vigil at the hospital last year.