Marriage is precious.
Sometimes, when we help others, it is a social service. Other times, it is a sacramental gift.
It’s important to build programs that are sustainable, to help build communities--not just give a little food for a day. There are a lot of ways you can help, and if you’re still reading, you’re probably aware of one or two of them.
But here at 31Four, we have a different perspective on sustainability. Sustainability is what the marriage initiative in Haiti is all about.
There are some jobs a man cannot get in Haiti unless he is married. Children perform better on tests if their parents are married. Children even have fewer accounts of asthma if their parents are married. Poverty is dramatically lower with married couples. And it is such a small barrier in Haiti that is preventing this one almost magical seeming sacrament. It’s the cost.
When you buy your wedding rings with 31Four, you are providing rings for the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in the mountainous region outside Jacmel, Haiti. As you know in planning your own wedding, this small gift is worth so much more than just the cost of the metal. The ring is so much more than just the jewelry.
It’s the same way with parishioners there, who have a desire to get married, but don’t have the rings. Just like you, they want to get married. They want to have wedding rings. This is our goal--to make marriage possible.
It’s right and just.
Dorothy Day, the Catholic activist of the 1960’s, ran a Catholic worker community. Once she was given a diamond ring by a donor, which she later gave to one of the poor of the community she was helping.
Jim Forest, an acquaintance of Day, writes:
Someone on the staff said to Dorothy, “Wouldn’t it have been better if we took the ring to the diamond exchange, sold it, and paid that woman’s rent for a year?”
Dorothy replied that the woman had her dignity and could do what she liked with the ring. She could sell it for rent money or take a trip to the Bahamas. Or she could enjoy wearing a diamond ring on her hand like the woman who gave it away. “Do you suppose,” Dorothy asked, “that God created diamonds only for the rich?”
We should remember just how important a sacramental marriage is, but sadly we often forget.
There were 12 Catholic marriages in my parish last year. There will be 19 in Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, outside Jacmel, Haiti--just in December.
Some of these couples have children already, and those children will finally be getting baptised. Some of the men and women haven’t had their own confirmations. They haven’t had the sacrament of reconciliation. After these ceremonies, all that changes.
The value of marriage is well-understood by the parishioners in our sister parish in Haiti. Our goal is to connect marriages here with marriages there. To help show how important marriage really is. We want to encourage people to be married here, to make this precious and sacramental commitment--and we also want to make marriage possible, and spread the infinite good of sacramental grace over borders and across barriers, proving that we are one true church.
Help us prove to the world that #marriageisprecious!