The bishop presiding over a Mass for marriage in northwest England emphasized the Christian vocation of marriage as an invitation to future generations.
He encouraged couples to embrace the journey of marriage, make faithful promises, and build stable and loving homes for their children with unwavering faith and prayer.
The Mass served as a celebration of the enduring commitment and faithfulness of couples in attendance.
Celebrating Years of Faithfully Lived Marriages
During the Mass, the bishop recognized the couples in attendance who collectively represented a remarkable 1,275 years of faithfully lived marriages.
This long-standing commitment was acknowledged as an invaluable and immeasurable treasure that brings stability and love to families.
A Testament of 70 Years of Marriage
Among the couples present, Lloyd and Sheila Hayes of Romiley, Cheshire, were highlighted for their upcoming 70th wedding anniversary.
They were married at the ages of 20 and 18 and have since built a family with eight children, 23 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Their enduring marriage serves as a testament to the strength of their commitment and love.
Marriage Statistics in the UK
In contrast to the celebration of enduring marriages, the U.K. witnessed a significant increase in divorce rates in 2021. According to the U.K.
Office of National Statistics, there were 113,505 divorces granted in England and Wales, marking a 9.6% rise compared to 2020 when 103,592 divorces were recorded.
Challenges of Family Breakdown
The Marriage Foundation, a research organization focused on studying family breakdown in the U.K., revealed that by the age of 14, 46% of children are not living with both biological parents.
These statistics underscore the challenges faced by families and the importance of celebrating enduring marriages and promoting the Christian vocation of marriage.