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Marriage at the heart of God’s creative intention for humanity


The Archbishop celebrated the 2015 Annual Marriage Day Mass on Tuesday, 11 August at St Mary’s Cathedral with some 500 people, many of whom were in attendance to also celebrate a milestone anniversary with their families and friends. PHOTO: Jamie O'Brien

By Jamie O’Brien

At a time when the whole meaning of marriage seems to be under question, it is important for us to remind ourselves that marriage is a deeply religious, deeply spiritual and profoundly sacramental reality, said Archbishop Costelloe this week at the celebration of the 2015 Annual Marriage Day Mass.

The Archbishop celebrated the occasion on Tuesday, 11 August at St Mary’s Cathedral with some 500 people, many of whom were in attendance to also celebrate a milestone anniversary with their families and friends.

The annual celebration, which this year took place the day before National Marriage Day, has been held for 11 years and is now coordinated by the Archdiocesan Catholic Marriage and Fertility Services (CMFS), with the support of the Australian Family Association (AFA) and the Knights of the Southern Cross WA (KSCWA).

National Marriage Day in Australia is held to commemorate the passing of the changes to the Federal Marriage Act to incorporate the common law definition of marriage into the Marriage Act 1961 and the Family Law Act. This bill was meant to clarify the meaning of the term 'marriage' in the Marriage Act because the Act had lacked a definition until that time. In June 2004, the bill passed the House of Representatives. On 12 August 2004, the Senate passed the amendment by 38 votes to 6. The bill subsequently received royal assent, becoming the Marriage Amendment Act 2004.

In thanking all those who participated and contributed to organising the occasion, the CMFS Director echoed the words of Archbishop Costelloe, who spoke about the importance of marriage as a celebration at the conclusion of the Mass.

Couples celebrating a milestone anniversary were then invited to stand and receive a blessing from Archbishop Costelloe, who noted that between those couples, there was a combined amount of (more than) 5,000 years of marriage experience.

More than 100 couples who attended also registered their anniversary with the Catholic Marriage and Fertility Services to receive a signed certificate from the Archbishop commemorating the occasion.

In his homily for the occasion, the Archbishop said that marriage is, in fact, according to the Book of Genesis, at the very heart of God's creative intention for humanity.

“In Chapter two of Genesis, we find God, after having created the first human being, saying ‘it is not good that the man should be alone... I will make him a helpmate’.”

Continuing with the story of Creation, the Archbishop went on to say that marriage, then, is about a man and a woman committing themselves to each other in total self-giving, “in fidelity, in courageous trust and hope, and in openness to being co-creators with God in the bringing of new life into the world”.

In concluding his homily, the Archbishop also spoke about the challenges of marriage.

“We do not always find it easy to bear with one another. In this sense, it seems to me, a marriage, as well as involving a lot of living, also involves a lot of dying,” the Archbishop said.

“Husbands and wives must be ready to die to self-preoccupation, to self-centredness, to a ‘what about me’ mentality and instead model themselves on the Lord Jesus who ‘loved the Church and sacrificed Himself for her’.

“For this reason I want to say to all the married couples here this evening, and to those who are contemplating marriage in the future, that the mother of Jesus, together with Jesus and His disciples, were not or will not only be present on your wedding day.

“They have been, and will be, present as you live out the reality of your marriage, with all its moments of joy and its moments of sadness and difficulty.

“And if, at times, you feel as if the wine of joy has run out in your marriage, then allow the Lord to transform the tasteless water of the marriage into the new wine of joy, of hope and of deep serenity which is the promise of Christian marriage.”