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Pope shares Valentine's Day with 10,000 engaged couples

Catholic World News - February 14, 2014

“To stay together and to know how to love each other for ever is the challenge Christian married couples face,” Pope Francis said during an unusual meeting on February 14—Valentine’s Day—with more than 10,000 engaged couples.

The meeting, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, drew a far larger audience than Vatican officials had expected. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, whose office arranged the day’s events, conceded that “numbers are not everything,” but was clearly happy with the attendance of so many young couples, telling L’Osservatore Romano that “their enthusiasm says a lot.”

The day’s events began with a series of testimonies from young couples, punctuated by songs and poetry about human love. Pope Francis arrived shortly after noon, and delivered an address in which he stressed the importance of a relationship founded on faith. “The more you entrust yourselves to the Lord, the more your love will be 'for ever,’ able to renew itself and to overcome every difficulty,” he said.

“Today many people are afraid of making definitive decisions, that affect them for all their lives, because it seems impossible,” the Pope said. He suggested that married couples should see their love not as a state of mind, but as a relationship that they are always building together. “You would not wish to build it on the shifting sands of emotions, but on the rock of true love, the love that comes from God,” he said.

Offering a few words of advice to the couples preparing for marriage, the Pope said that they should remember always to be kind to each other. “St. Francis said that 'courtesy is the sister of charity, it extinguishes hatred and kindles love,’” he reminded them. “Let us learn to recognize our mistakes and to apologize.”

Regarding wedding ceremonies, the Holy Father said that the celebration should be “a Christian rather than a worldly one.” He encouraged them to let “the external signs of your wedding feast reveal the presence of the Lord.”

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