ILOILO City, Jan. 2, 2016– On the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy, a parish here is offering unmarried Catholic couples the opportunity to participate more fully in the life of the Church.
Msgr. Sergio Jamoyot, rector of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Alta Tierra, Iloilo City, said the Jubilee is “a very good opportunity for unmarried couples to have their unions solemnized in Church.”
The shrine is one of the churches in the archdiocese designated for the Jubilee as a ‘pilgrimage church’ with its own ‘Holy Door’.
“Common-law marriage, also called live-in relationship, is something that appears to be on the increase nowadays,” Jamoyot lamented.
“The usual excuse given by unmarried couples resorting to a “live-in” arrangement or a civil marriage is “a wedding in church is expensive”,” he said.
“In fact,” he said, “couples can be married in church without spending much or none at all. What make weddings expensive are the decorations or other frills which are not essential to marriage. What matters is the sacrament.”
Pastoral attention to couples
Also for the CBCP’s Year of the Eucharist and the Family, the parish will organize Catholic mass weddings, one in each of the five barangays in the parish, to help unmarried couples solemnize their union in church.
“Aside from this, Catholic organizations in our parish regularly reach out to unmarried couples by helping them prepare their marriage in church,” he said.
Msgr. Jamoyot also advised the faithful to distinguish church weddings from “mass weddings” officiated by politicians.
“These so-called ‘mass weddings’ are not the same as those celebrated in the Catholic Church,” the priest said.
“At most, these mass weddings have only a civil effect but have no sacramental effect, that is the grace proper to the sacrament to assist the spouses in their vocation to marriage,” he said.
Catechesis on marriage, family
More than the question of expenses, Msgr. Jamoyot said a greater concern is the formation people urgently need on the teachings of the Church on marriage and the family.
“I make it a point to make an extensive catechesis on the sacraments. For example, in the recent Aguinaldo Masses I centered the homilies on the Eucharist, family and marriage,” he added.
Aside from pastoral work in his parish, Jamoyot, along with other priests, lay persons and religious, host a catechetical radio program on Sundays under the auspices of the Katesismo sa Kahanginan Apostolate (KSKA) and the Social Communications Commission of the Archdiocese of Jaro.
“In the program we use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to teach parents on their role as the primary educators of their children, of marriage as a school of love and self-giving, the importance of the sacraments in family life, etc.,” he said. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCP News)