TAWAU – In conjunction with the Extraordinary Year of Mercy, the Family Life Ministry (FLM) of Holy Trinity Parish here initiated a meaningful seminar for all married couples, themed “Love and Forgiveness in Marriage” at the Parish Catechetical Hall on 12-14 Aug 2016. A total of 115 participants consisting of 54 couples and 7 singles attended the seminar.
The objectives of the seminar were: 1) To provide opportunities for couples to be more merciful to each other; 2) To create awareness among couples that without forgiveness and mercy in their relationship there will be no peace in the family, and 3) To encourage couples to live the culture of “forgiveness” and to practise it in their journey.
The seminar commenced with Fr Phillip Muji who, in his topic on “Vows of Marriage’ on the first evening, emphasised that the sanctity of marriage requires determination, perseverance, patience and the need to uphold the beauty of marriage. He said, “The relationship between husband and wife is a bond instituted by God himself. This institution should be protected, respected and valued so that everyone who is born of this institution becomes the ‘light’ to others. Hence, the couple too becomes the witness and symbol of Christ’s love for the Church. The Vows of Marriage enable a couple to respect, love and be compassionate to one another.”
The participating couples then renewed their marriage vows, followed by a special prayer by Fr Muji. As each couple recited the vows they declared and pledged when they first got married many years ago, it was a moment filled with grace and meaning.
The next day, spiritual adviser for Family Life Ministry, Sr Liza Augustine touched on ‘Year of Mercy and Family,’ where she stressed that ‘Mercy is the key to happiness, peace and a way to strengthen the bond in the family, especially between husband and wife.”
She added, “Being compassionate and merciful can change a person to be more loving and more open to accept other people’s mistakes.”
Julita Kantod, through her topic ‘Love and Forgiveness in Marriage,’ highlighted that “The ability to forgive is an act of love that comes from a sincere heart… an internal action involving acceptance, sacrifice, humility and unconditional love.”
Further reflections on the fatherhood of St Joseph and motherhood of Mary prepared the couples for the activity of writing love letters to each other, which was followed by another reflection on the Holy Family of Nazareth as the model family for all families. The day concluded with testimonies from five couples on their marriages, and the participants reading their love letters from their spouses!
In the evening, reconciliation and consecration of the couples were carried out in front of the Cross of Jesus. During the reconciliation session, couples asked for forgiveness and were assured of being forgiven through the grace of God. In so doing, they were empowered to continue their journey as married couples in love and mercy.
The seminar concluded with an Agape Night, a fitting celebration of joy, love and peace, as well as thanksgiving to God for the renewal of their marriages, and for the inspirations received to strengthen them. – Julita Kantod