In Rome, Pope Francis has released a video message for young people to pursue the beauty of married love.
He has dedicated the month of June as a time for the Catholic Church to pray for engaged couples.
In the video, the Pope admits that marriage can be demanding and complicated, but he adds that it is also something beautiful.
He also offers the reassurance that the husband and wife are never alone as, he says, Jesus accompanies them too.
The Vatican released a press statement accompanying the prayer intention which noted that the Church is currently marking the “Special Year of the Family”, which kicked off on 19 March 2021.
Marriage rates, says the statement, have plummeted around the world since 1972, while divorce rates have skyrocketed and the age at which people marry has grown steadily.
These trends have likely worsened since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Preparing young people and engaged couples for a real vocation, not just for the celebration of a wedding, is a priority,” says Dr. Gabriella Gambino, the Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.
“In a secularized society that no longer believes in marriage,” says Dr. Gambino, “we must proclaim the strength and power of the sacrament as a vocation and show that family relationships can have a salvific value for people and be a path to holiness. It is a matter of concretely bringing Christ into the lives of families.”