Last Saturday, the focus in the Diocese of Westminster was with over 400 couples who gathered at Westminster Cathedral to renew their marriage commitment. It was time of spectacle, colour, music, joy and prayer, celebrating the gift of married love and its witness within the world.
In his welcome address, Cardinal Vincent referenced the gospel story of the Wedding Feast at Cana, highlighting how this gathering presents a scene of happiness and celebration, and rather like the recent Coronation, it marks the start of something precious, but a start it remains and the evolution of marriage over time ‘strengthens it, tests it, enables to become a centre and focus of stability for the family and for wider society’.
That time was attested to through the combined witness to the vocation present in the Cathedral of just under 13,000 years, with 183 couples celebrating 25 years or more of married life. One couple present, Arcangela and Franceso Moretto, were congratulated personally by the Cardinal for celebrating 70 years of marriage.
In his homily, Cardinal Vincent spoke of how ‘the invitation to the eternal feast of heaven which is so often described as a celestial marriage feast’ is a hope and vision which can ‘endlessly nurture your love for each other.’
He also stressed that feast comes from the Lord, as ‘the provisions made for us by the Lord reach far beyond the provisions we make for ourselves.’ This is illustrated in the book of Revelation where God says, ‘See, I am making all things new’ and the repost comes, ‘It is already done’.
This, the Cardinal said, is ‘our joy today: that you recognise and give thanks for all the goodness ‘already done’ in your lives, in your marriages, in your families; and, secondly, that you truly grasp that the best is yet to come. What lies ahead is the complete fulfilment of all that, here and now, we grasp only in part, yet knowing that, in God’s mercy, all will be fulfilled.’
During the Mass, all the couples gathered had the opportunity to renew before God their commitment to live their marriage in holiness, praying that they might ‘remain faithful in our love for one another, so that we may be true witnesses to the covenant you have made with mankind.’