U.S. Bishops Advertising Marriage
Campaign Looks to Aid Couples
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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- In a campaign to promote matrimony the U.S. bishops are asking couples, "What have you done for your marriage today?"
Today, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, the chairman of the U.S. bishops' committee on Marriage and Family, introduced public service announcements and a Web campaign to highlight the value of marriage and provide support for engaged and married couples.
The radio and television campaign asks: "What did you do for your marriage today?" with spots shot in Washington, D.C.; New York; Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; and Providence, Rhode Island.
Sheila Garcia, associate director of the committee on Marriage and Family, spoke with ZENIT about the program that she says focuses on "issues of conflict resolution, communication skills, sexual intimacy. This program helps people take a look at their own marriages and provides some help along the way."
"People seem to be looking for a few tools to help their marriages, very practical assistance, and that's what we want to offer them," she underlined.
Garcia explained that in the television spots, "real people answer the question, 'What did you do for your marriage today?' that will then be posted on the Web site, telling stories of little things, like picking up dirty socks, or something sweet such as sending an e-mail telling the other how much they are loved."
"These messages speak better to people's needs since they come from real people living out the sacrament of marriage," she added.
Garcia said that beyond the advertising spots, "the committee is also doing research on Catholic couples, which will be available in October, a pastoral letter will be published in November 2009, and they will be providing other resources for marriage ministry to the dioceses."
"Our goal," added Garcia, "is to raise the profile of marriage, with the hope of encouraging other dioceses at the local level to do the same."
In the diocese
In Massachusetts, efforts have been underway in the four dioceses to promote vocations to marriage and to better serve families and society.
Last week, the Massachusetts legislature denied a proposal to bring to vote a marriage amendment.
In letters sent this week to pastors, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, wrote: "As many of you are aware, the vocation of marriage is in crisis. Over the past 20 years, there has been more than a 60% decline in the number of marriages recorded in the Archdiocese of Boston; down from 12,274 in 1986, to 4,519 in 2006.
"At the national and local level, the Church has been responding to the many challenges faced by married couples."
The cardinal noted that more than 18 months ago in the Archdiocese of Boston, he established a Committee on Marriage, which is providing recommendations to respond to the needs of engaged and married couples.
Kari Colella, coordinator of Marriage Ministries for the archdiocese said, "The bishops, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Catholic Conference and their Family Life and Pro-Life Sub-Committee, have worked to develop an initiative that seeks to guide parishes, clergy, and lay members in praying for and promoting the vocation of marriage.
"We have been blessed and privileged to be a part of this important responsibility, which we pray opens hearts and minds to the vocation of marriage as central in our Catholic experience."
The archdiocese will begin working with parishes to promote the initiative, encouraging clergy, religious and all Catholics to pray for marriage both privately and during the prayers of the faithful at Mass, and for clergy to incorporate support for marriage in homilies when appropriate.