Pope Francis has invited engaged couples to spend Valentine’s Day with him next month.
In an announcement this week the Holy Father said that couples in preparation for marriage could visit him for a special general audience on February 14.
A statement on the Vatican website said that “engaged couples who have already attended or are presently attending marriage preparation courses are invited to a meeting with the Holy Father”. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family is organising the audience, which will be called “The Joy of Yes Forever”.
Edmund Adamus, who co-ordinates a programme for Catholic couples called Smart Loving, said: “I’m delighted to see such prominence being given by the Holy Father. Betrothal is a much forgotten and under-appreciated period … whereby the grace of Christ is at work in a new and exciting way in the build up to the solemnisation of the union at the wedding. This is why we encourage couples to ask for and clergy to remember to make available the Rite of Blessing of the Engaged to mark this incredibly important and precious moment of betrothal.”
Mr Adamus said Pope Francis was echoing the teaching of Benedict XVI, “who exhorted us in Sacramentum Caritatis to ‘devote maximum pastoral attention’ to preparing couples for marriage”.
Fr Stephen Wang, a university chaplain, said: “The journey of engagement can often be a stressful time, and we need to find ways of supporting and involving engaged couples, as Pope Francis is doing in this way. Valentine’s Day is also an opportunity for parishes to promote an authentic vision of married love, and help people to appreciate the wisdom and beauty of Catholic teaching about sexuality.”