NOTE: This event has been postponed until Saturday, May 14. More details will be communicated when they are finalized.
Deacon Lucio Hernandez and his wife, Adela, have been married for 47 years. They believe strongly in the sacrament of marriage and in helping to strengthen couples through marriage ministry, prayer, education and support.
“The importance of marriage is that a couple gives themselves, freely and totally, for each other as Jesus gave himself on the cross, out of love for us,” said Adela, who attends St. Joseph Parish in Waite Park. “The sacrament of marriage is a lifestyle, in intimate unity with God and with our partner, that gives us the fruit of holiness.”
For many years, the Office of Marriage and Family in the Diocese of St. Cloud has hosted a special day to recognize married couples with a celebration called Honoring Marriage Day. Typically held in May, this event includes Mass, a blessing and reception.
In 2021, Mayuli Bales, diocesan director of multicultural ministries, approached the Office of Marriage and Family and requested a similar celebration to be held in Spanish for Latino couples.
“In a sacramental marriage, God’s love becomes present to the spouses in their total union and also flows through them to their family and community,” Mayuli said. “A blessing [such as Honoring Marriage Day] is a pastoral work and an expression of a faith community’s joys and hopes. That is important in any culture.”
The first Honoring Marriage Day for Latino couples is planned for Jan. 29 in Melrose. The celebration will include Mass, a blessing by Bishop Donald Kettler, a reception and the opportunity for married couples to have their picture taken individually with the bishop. Invitations are being sent to Latino couples who are married in the Catholic Church. Anyone who did not receive an invitation and wishes to receive one should contact their parish office.
Horacio Aguilar and his wife, Karina Cervantes, married 19 years, coordinate the Spanish marriage preparation course for the diocese. They believe strongly in assisting couples in preparing for the sacrament of marriage.
“For me the importance of marriage is to be part of the design of the will of God,” said Horacio, who attends St. Mary of Mount Carmel Parish in Long Prairie. “We are creators for the future of humanity and of our Holy Mother Catholic Church. … For this sacrament to faithfully carry its vows every day, it must have the foundations well laid in God.
“As it has been said, ‘the family that prays together, stays together.’ And since my vocation is to be a father of a family, this sacrament is very important. It is everything,” he said.
Karina said the important thing for her is helping people see the beauty of the sacrament.
“It is a covenant with God and us based on service, commitment, respect and fidelity in mutual love between two baptized people sharing their same faith in Christ and his Church,” Karina said. “By receiving the sacrament of marriage, we receive our own grace destined to perfect the love of the spouses, to strengthen their indissoluble union. Through this grace, [Christ] helps each [spouse] to sanctify each other with married life, in the reception and education of children with Christ being the source of this grace.
“It is important that the bishop celebrates a day honoring marriage for Latino couples, because we need the daily blessing of God to be able to overcome the temptations of the devil within marriage, and thus faithfully carry the promises that we made at our wedding,” she said. “[It is important] also to be able to share with other Christian couples the value and the importance of this sacrament and renewing our marriage vows. Since Latinos are an important part of the Christian faith, it is an honor and blessing for Latino marriages, which our bishop takes into account when taking the time to celebrate with us.”
OMF director Patrick Flynn says he hopes that in the future all couples will be able to come together for one united celebration of marriage in the diocese.
“We are working with Bishop Kettler and Mayuli Bales to host this wonderful celebration of sacramental marriage for the Latino communities in our diocese,” Patrick said. “Bishop Kettler is very excited to preside at Mass with the couples and highlight the beauty of the sacrament of matrimony. Good, faith-filled marriages are the cornerstone for a strong society, and sacramental marriages provide strength to everyone around them. We hope everyone who joins us for the Mass will experience the rich grace and blessings which flow through the sacrament.
Photo: Getty Images/aldomurillo