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Photocall opportunity at Shrine of Saint Valentine, Dublin, for blessing of engaged couple

  • Publication of 2019 Accord data on services in marriage preparation, and marriage & relationship counselling

The Feast of Saint Valentine will be celebrated this Friday, 14 February.  You, or a representative, are invited to a photocall for the blessing of an engaged couple (details below) and rings at the Shrine of the holy relics of Saint Valentine in Dublin city.  Details:

Time and date            Tuesday 11 February 2020 at 12.30pm

Venue                         At the Shrine of Saint Valentine in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street, in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

In attendance             Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin and President of Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service CLG, who will bless the engaged couple Ms Michelle Connolly from Dublin and Mr Jonathan Hanley from Co Roscommon.  Representatives of Accord.

Background               Michelle works as a primary school teacher and Jonathan is a primary school principal.  The couple met in 2012 when they were both studying education in Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.  The couple will receive the Sacrament of Marriage in 2021 in Saint Mochta’s Church, Porterstown, Archdiocese of Dublin. 

Notes for Editors

  • Photographs from the blessing of the engaged couple will be available to media from John McElroy on +353 (0) 87 241 6985 and johnmcelroyphotos@eircom.net.  The blessing will be live-streamed on the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference Facebook page.
  • Father Simon Nolan, O.Carm is Prior, and Father Seán Ford, O.Carm is Parish Priest, of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Dublin.
  • Holy relics of Saint Valentine are interred in the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar Street, Dublin.  Saint Valentine, a priest in ancient Rome, is regarded as the patron saint of couples in love, preparing for marriage and of married life.  According to tradition, Saint Valentine was martyred on 14 February 250 AD.  In 1836 relics that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, near Rome, were identified as Saint Valentine’s.  These relics were placed in a casket, donated by Pope Gregory XVI, and transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin where they continue to be venerated by the faithful to this day.
  • The first Accord centre in Ireland was established in 1962 at Saint Mary’s Parish, Belfast, in the Diocese of Down & Connor.  Up until recently Accord was an agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and operated as an unincorporated association.  In June 2016 Accord in Northern Ireland was established as a company limited by guarantee (Accord NI); in June 2017 Accord Central Office and Accord centres in the Republic of Ireland, outside of the Archdiocese of Dublin, was established as a company limited by guarantee, Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service CLG (Accord CLG) and in November 2017 Accord in the Archdiocese of Dublin was established as a company limited by guarantee (Accord Dublin).  The three Accord companies currently operate in 54 centres throughout the island of Ireland – North and South – and are committed to providing a professional service serving the pastoral needs of individuals at different stages in their development – in schools, through Relationship and Sexuality Education programmes; by helping couples prepare for the sacrament of marriage; and through providing support for couples and individuals through its marriage and relationship counselling service.  Accord’s marriage facilitators and marriage and relationship counsellors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are trained and work under supervision in accordance with best practice.  Tusla, the Child and Family Agency (RoI) is a major funder of the two Accord companies in the Republic of Ireland.  Accord CLG also operates with the support of the Health Service Executive (RoI) and in Northern Ireland some funding comes from the Policy Unit of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI).

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: +353 (1) 5053017; Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.

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