On Saturday, February 23, Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral organized a Marriage Enrichment Evening.
The event began with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by our rector, Father Dominique Hanna, who delivered a homily focused on love in marriage. Father encouraged every person to recall what attracted them to their spouse; to accept each other as they are with their faults and not as they wish them to be. He reflected on the fact that “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” The man leaves his parents house like Jesus left His Father’s house to come and abide with His people. Father reminded all of the men present of the words of Saint Paul in His Epistle to the Ephesians, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” At the end of the homily, Father challenged us to consider what we are bringing into our marriage. Will it make us saints or is it making us live like dead people? After his homily, Father asked every couple to face each other and hold hands while they renewed their marital vows and received his blessings. Following the renewal of vows, Father asked the 32 couples present to spend a few minutes reflecting silently on the questions in the program given to every person.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, everyone went to the social hall where they received party favors at the registration table and took their seats. The favors included a photo frame coaster made up of two piecesof heart-shaped glass, a laminated marriage blessing prayer card, and a small card with the words “Keep SPICE in your Marriage.”
All then celebrated married life with food, music, and dancing. During the party, Father Dominique had planned trivia questions with simple prizes. There was lot of laughter, fun, joy, and excitement while everyone tried to guess the correct answers and win the game. After the game, every person there was invited to check under their seats for a red ribbon, an indication that they had won a simple prize. At that moment, everyone was turning their chairs over, searching for the winning ribbon that earned them a big heart filled with chocolate.
Everyone felt it was a nice family gathering with lots of love and joy put into preparing for the success of the event. All enjoyed it and had positive interaction and feedback. 50/50 raffles were drawn at the end of the evening and the winner gave 50% of it back to the church.
The Office of Family and Sanctity of Life for the Eparchy of Saint Maron wants to encourage every priest to consider planning a similar event in his parish. Such an evening can bring couples together and build fellowship between them, help them reflect on the importance of their vocation to marriage, and strengthen their marriage while celebrating married life with Liturgy, music, and food. For more information on planning such an event, please contact Marise Frangie at 914-393-8907 and firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the webpage: http://www.cedaroflebanonfcc.com/office-of-family-and-sanctity-of-life.html.