Events celebrate marriage in February

Published: February 4, 2016

En Español

National Marriage Week will be celebrated Feb. 7-14. In addition to being Valentine's Day, the week's celebration concludes with World Marriage Day on Feb. 14.

These events provide an opportunity "to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples," said Bishop Richard Malone, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

The diocesan Family Life Office is sponsoring several events this month to provide marriage enrichment, support for troubled marriages and education for couples preparing for marriage. These include:

Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a weekend experience designed to build communication and allow couples to spend time together, away from the tensions of everyday life, will be held Feb. 12-14 at Coury House Retreat Center in Subiaco. For more information, call Stephen and Elaine Lienhart at (501) 312-1119 or e-mail Register online at Another weekend is scheduled for September.

Encuentro Matrimonial (Marriage Encounter), a weekend retreat presented in Spanish for couples seeking to enrich their marriages, will be held Feb. 12-14 at St. John Catholic Center in Little Rock. For more information or registration, call Adrian and Reyna Alvarez at (773) 213-9593 or Fermín and Noemi Andrade at (479) 644-1152. Additional weekends will be held in July and November.

Convalidation Class, a daylong marriage education program for couples who are married civilly and wish to have a sacramental marriage within the Catholic Church, will be held Feb. 20 at St. John Catholic Center. Register online or contact Elizabeth Reha at (501) 664-0340, ext. 373. Additional dates and locations are available. Events for Spanish-speaking couples will be held in March and May.

Pre-Cana Day, a one-day retreat for engaged couples who wish to be married in the Catholic Church, will be held Feb. 20 at Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith. Register online or contact Elizabeth Reha at (501) 664-0340, ext. 373. Several additional dates and locations are available. Events for Spanish-speaking couples will be held in March and May.

Retrouvaille, a program designed to help heal and renew troubled and hurting marriages, will be held Feb. 19-21 at St. John Catholic Center in Little Rock. Register online at This event will also be held in September.

For more information about marriage events in the Diocese of Little Rock, contact Elizabeth Reha at (501) 664-0340, ext. 373. In addition, couples may also take advantage of several online resources including a virtual marriage retreat with reflections from Pope Francis.

Bishop Malone noted the challenges to marriage in our culture but also pointed out the Church's efforts to support marriage, including the Holy Father's attention to the "beauty of marriage and family life" during his visit to the United States last September for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. 

"In October, the Ordinary Synod on the Family met in Rome to assist the Holy Father in reflecting on ways the Church can further support families in their vocation and mission. In November, our body approved the formal statement 'Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography,' which we pray reaches many men and women, including married couples and parents, with the healing truth of authentic love and chastity," he said. "Lastly, the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy began in December, and the Jubilee of Families on the feast of the Holy Family remains an encouragement to families to live out this Jubilee of Mercy with greater trust in the Lord’s mercy and with greater love for family members and neighbors."