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Marriage and Family


bride-groom-getty-images-home"Among the many blessings that God has showered upon us in Christ is the blessing of marriage, a gift bestowed by the Creator from the creation of the human race…

It is a source of blessing to the couple, to their families, and to society and includes the wondrous gift of co-creating human life.

Indeed, as Pope John Paul II never tired of reminding us, the future of humanity depends on marriage and the family."– U.S. Catholic Bishops, 2009 Pastoral Letter: Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan


Latest News

June 2014: The Instrumentum Laboris, the agenda of the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, is now posted on the Vatican website This document provides a substantive reflection on the major challenges facing the family today and outlines the topics that will be discussed at the Extraordinary Synod.


Major USCCB Marriage Projects & Activities

Young people and an elderly man read together. The Bishops launched the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage in 2005 to call attention to the meaning and value of married life for the Church and for society. The crowning achievement of the Initiative was the Bishops' 2009 pastoral letter, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan.

The Initiative's other activities included: a research study on Catholics and marriage; focus groups with married couples, priests, and canon lawyers; an analysis of diocesan marriage preparation policies; and dialogues with social scientists and theologians

The Bishops reaffirmed their strong support for marriage and the family by identifying "strengthening marriage and family life" as one of four strategic priorities of the USCCB for the planning period of 2008-2012 and again for 2013-2016.

Ongoing web initiatives of the USCCB

Young bride and groom. The "For Your Marriage" website offers practical help and advice whether you're seriously dating, engaged, or at any stage of married life. If you're planning a Catholic wedding, you'll find information on everything from choosing the music and readings to marrying someone who is not Catholic. On the homepage check out the Daily Marriage Tips, book reviews, and blogs by engaged and married couples.

A young family pose together for a photo. The "Marriage: Unique for a Reason" website is part of the Bishops' ongoing efforts to promote and defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It offers many educational resources for Catholics and others who want to better understand and articulate the Church's teaching on marriage. The website currently features three DVD resources, "Made for Each Other," "Made for Life,"and "El Matrimonio: Hecho para el amor y vida" (in Spanish with English subtitles), as well as FAQs about marriage, a library of Church teaching, and a regularly updated blog.

 Young father surfs the net with his two toddlers. The Por tu Matrimonio Web site is a space to inspire, assist and encourage Spanish-speaking couples to live their marriage more fully.  Por Tu Matrimonio es un espacio para inspirar, ayudar y exhortar a las parejas de habla hispana a vivir más plenamente su relación de pareja.

Upcoming Events

October 5 - 19th, 2014 - Rome

Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

The theme of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod is "the pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization." In preparation for this event, the Vatican has issued a preparatory document, which requested input from the world's bishops on various topics related to marriage and the family, and an "Instrumentum Laboris," which provides a substantive reflection on the major challenges facing the family today and outlines the topics that will be discussed at the Extraordinary Synod.

There was a press conference in the Vatican about the Extraordinary Synod on November 5, 2013 (click on "Traduzione in lingua inglese" to read in English). A summary of the press conference can be found on the Vatican News website.

You can find more information on the Synod process on the Vatican website.

Pope Francis wrote a letter to all families, asking them to pray for the Extraordinary Synod (Feb. 2, 2014).

Prayer by Pope Francis:

"Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan."
- Pope Francis (12.26.13 address)



September 22 - 27th, 2015 - Philadelphia, PA

World Meeting of Families

Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family

Theme: "Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive"

  • May 15, 2014: Column by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput about the theme of World Meeting of Families 2015
  • May 13, 2014: Press Conference to announce the theme, with Archbishop Chaput, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, PA Governor Tom Corbett, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (also see the News Release about the theme)
  • March 25, 2014: Remarks from Archbishop Chaput and Archbishop Paglia during the Philadelphia delegation's visit to Rome
  • March 7, 2014: Press Conference with Archbishop Chaput, Governor Corbett, and Mayor Nutter
  • March 7, 2014: In his column, Archbishop Chaput invites all families to the World Meeting of Families
  • February 25, 2013: Welcome letter from Archbishop Chaput

More information at the World Meeting of Families website:

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