Engaged Couples to Meet With Pope on Valentine’s Day

During the event, which is being organized by the Pontifical Council of the Family, the couples will gather with the Holy Father in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall.

A newly married couple at the Vatican waits to be blessed by Pope Francis on Oct. 16, 2013.
A newly married couple at the Vatican waits to be blessed by Pope Francis on Oct. 16, 2013. (photo: Kerri Lenartowick/CNA)

VATICAN CITY — The Pontifical Council for the Family is promoting a special encounter between Pope Francis and couples who are engaged, which will take place on the upcoming feast of St. Valentine.

Invited to the meeting with the Pope are those couples “who have already attended or are currently going through their marriage-preparation courses,” the council’s webpage states.

Couples who meet these qualifications will gather in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall on Feb. 14 at 11am to receive the personal greetings and message of the Pope.

The Pontifical Council for the Family, which is organizing the event, is part of the Roman Curia and was established by Blessed John Paul II in 1981 in order to promote the pastoral care of families and to protect their rights and dignity within society so that they might be more able to fulfill their duties.

Although this will be the first meeting of its kind with Pope Francis, it is not the first time this type of encounter has been held.

On Sept. 11, 2011, Benedict XVI met with young couples in Ancona, Italy, in honor of the Eucharistic Congress at the time, and Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia of the Diocese of Terni has also promoted similar activities each year on Valentine’s Day.

In his speech to engaged couples, Benedict XVI expressed some of the challenges that can inhibit relationships from flourishing, including difficulties in finding a steady job and living amid an individualistic culture.

Encouraging the couples not to “fear to face these challenges” and to “never lose hope,” he emphasized to them the importance of maintaining an encounter with God, “especially in personal and community prayer.”

“The Church, too, is close to you, supports you and never ceases to look at you with great trust,” he said, and he cautioned them against shutting themselves into “intimist” and “falsely reassuring relationships.”

Reminding the couples also to choose “with conviction” the “forever” that connotes love, Benedict noted that this indissolubility “is a gift” to be “desired” and “lived out,” also affirming that authentic love requires a process of “maturation.”

Couples who wish to register for the special Feb. 14 encounter with Pope Francis can do so at diocesan offices for the family, secretariats of the movements and associations or by writing to the council at [email protected] Registration closes on Jan. 30.