Launch of ACCORD’s “Planning Your Wedding Day”

11 Feb 2008

11 February 2008

Launch of ACCORD’s “Planning Your Wedding Day”

Remarks by The Most Reverend Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh,at the Carmelite Community Centre, Whitefriar Street, Dublin


On this the 150th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette in Lourdes, let us pray to Our Mother in Heaven that she will watch over and bless all those contemplating the Sacrament of marriage and let us also pray for married couples everywhere and for their families. 

[Bishop Clifford leads with the Hail Mary …]

Thank you all for attending this afternoon.  I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate all the members of ACCORD on the preparation and publication of this booklet “Planning Your Wedding Day”.  This publication has grown out of forty years of experience of ACCORD personnel from all over Ireland. It is the fruits of hours, days and years of counselling couples for marriage and married couples at parish and diocesan level.

Today’s publication coincides with the feast of St Valentine, a priest and physician in Rome, who is regarded as the patron of couples preparing for marriage and of married life.  The remains of St Valentine are held here in the Carmelite Church.

Over the past forty years the Bishops’ Conference has supported and encouraged the work of ACCORD.  The work of ACCORD is the unique contribution of counsellors in 58 centres throughout Ireland.  It was set up in 1968 to promote a better understanding of Christian Marriage and to help people initiate, sustain and enrich their marriage and family relationships.  It provides a range of services including counselling, personal enrichment, marriage preparation and schools programmes.  ACCORD has a progressive and enlightened approach to the support of marriage and the family.  ACCORD meets with some 9,500 couples annually.  That is no mean boast.  It is a work for marriage and for society done quietly and without fanfare by hundreds of individuals throughout Ireland.  In many ways they are the unsung heroes of our day who give their time, their energy and expertise generously.  Today provides an opportunity to thank them for their work

Recent surveys indicate the pressures facing young people in today’s materialistic and secularised world.  Such pressures particularly apply to couples preparing for marriage.  In the interest of the common good, it is incumbent on all of us to support marriage in every that we can.

From the 13 April 2008 to the 3 May 2009 the Catholic Church in Ireland will celebrate a “Year of Vocation”.  This initiative seeks to promote the universal call of Baptism – that applies to each and every one of us – and which invites us to live a life of witness, love and service.  The vocation of marriage readily exemplifies this calling.  More details on this “Year of Vocation” will be announced shortly.

Today’s publication “Planning Your Wedding Day” will, it is hoped, help young couples as they prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage.  In other callings and vocations in life years of formation and training are regarded as absolutely essential.

It is vital, therefore, that more and more time be given to involve a couple in preparation for marriage preparation.  It is a life’s work and it demands a life’s commitment.

Time and time again one hears of the positive reaction of those who have attended pre-marriage courses.  At first there may be some hesitancy, even reluctance, to be involved but having done the preparation couples will happily comment that they have gained greatly from the experience. We all know the whirlwind of expectations and preparations leading up to marriage and we know too that in the midst of these pressures the importance of the Sacrament of Marriage can be lost.   A couple are ill-served if they have not had an opportunity to reflect on the spiritual dimension of their married life and are not given time for reflection on the Sacrament.  There are many pressures to contend with in the months and days before marriage not least the pressures to comply with the expectations of today’s world.

This booklet is timely in view of the recent changes in regulations for the registration of marriage in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.  The booklet gives precise information on the procedures to be followed, the contacts to be made and the regulations for registering one’s marriage.  It is a practical and helpful guide for those preparing for marriage.  I have every confidence that this booklet will be used not just by those preparing for marriage but also by family members and friends.

May I congratulate Stephen Cummins, Director of Marriage Education, and indeed all those associated with the work of ACCORD at local and national level.  Special thanks too to all the couples who took the time to give feedback to ACCORD.  Their valuable experience was an important resource for the author’s of the publication.

May your work be generously rewarded.  Thank You.

Notes to Editors

  • The remains of St Valentine are held in the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar Street.
  • ACCORD, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, is the biggest provider of services in support of marriage and family in Ireland.  Accord’s mission is to respond to the needs of couples preparing for and living out their commitment to marriage and family.
  • This ACCORD resource, a full colour booklet, is designed to support couples in the planning of their wedding day.  See and

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer (087 233 7797)