Pope Fracnis, who is the bishop of Rome, presided over his first wedding ceremony as pontiff during a nuptial Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica September 14. Twenty couples from the Diocese of Rome celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage. The ages of the brides and grooms ranged from the youngest being 25 to the oldest being 56, the couples came from all kinds of situations with some who have been engaged for a long period of time or for not as long, some who are already cohabitating and others who already have children. Pope Francis has said the Church’s pastoral approach to helping couples must be “intelligent, courageous and full of love” because the family today is “looked down upon and mistreated”.  He also underlined that marriage is a demanding journey: “It is the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross.” The papal Mass celebrating the couples’ marriage took place just a few weeks before the start of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, October 5-19.

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