In his video message, Pope Francis said that marriage is a vocation and “a conscious decision for the rest of one’s life that requires specific preparation.”
“And on this life-long journey, the husband and wife aren’t alone; Jesus accompanies them,” he said.
The prayer request by the pope comes after the marriage rate in the United States hit a record low in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic caused people to postpone marriage plans.
In the European Union, the marriage rate has fallen to nearly half of what it was in 1964, and the divorce rate has more than doubled.
Italy had the lowest marriage rate among all EU countries in 2019 with only 3.1 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants.
Pope Francis said: “Is it true, what some people say—that young people don’t want to get married, especially during these difficult times?”
“A great deal of patience is necessary in order to love,” he said. “But it is worth it."
Each month, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network produces a video to spread the pope’s prayer intention. In 2021, these intentions have ranged from prayer for women who are victims of violence to prayer that more people will return to the sacrament of confession.
The Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life contributed to the publication of this month’s video as part of the “Special year of the family,” which began on March 19.
Gabriella Gambino, undersecretary of the dicastery, said that it important to prepare “young people and engaged couples for a real vocation, not just for the celebration of a wedding.”