JOHOR BAHRU – Catholic couples in the Melaka-Johor diocese renewed their marital vows on Dec 31 and Jan 1 in parishes here.

This is apparently the first time in the history of the diocese in which married couples from all language groups renewed their marital vows during Masses.

In most churches, couples were asked to renew their vows while standing in their pews while in some smaller parishes, priests urged couples to go forward to the altar.

“This was the best thing that ever happened to us in the past 32 years of married life,” one couple, Joseph Teng and Katherine Yong, told CatholicNews.

They said that after 32 years of marriage, their life needed just a little spark of love and romance which the renewal of vows brought back.

“We wish that this would be done year after year,” one of them added.

Another couple, Andrew Lingam and Sally Ann, who have been married for some 40 years, said this was a good way to start the New Year.

“The renewal of vows just brings back all the ... memories of the day you were married and the sense of love, affection, devotion and dedication that you showed each other on the day of your wedding,” one of them said.

During the clergy retreat in Malacca last November, it was discussed that couples would renew their marriage vows on New Year’s Day during the Eucharistic celebration.

According to Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing, the family is the most basic unit of society and the Church and hence no effort should be spared to strengthen family life.

The Diocesan Family Life Ministry said the initiative allows people to praise God for the gift of marriage and family, and also to witness to the young that Catholic marriage is holy, sacred and permanent.

- By Vincent D’Silva

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