We have described a Holy Spouses feast, rosary, image, and workshop as pastoral means for taking Mary and Joseph as patrons and models for one’s marriage. These are all brought together in a spiritual society to which couples may make a personal commitment. This commitment consists of the following eight points:
- Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Spouses, Joseph and Mary, on January 23 each year by attending Mass together as a couple.
- Pray some part of the Holy Spouses Rosary together weekly.
- Have a Holy Spouses Picture enthroned in your home.
- Live your marriage as a call from God.
- Respect children as the greatest fruit of marriage.
- Uphold the Church’s teaching on the two inseparable ends of marriage: union in love and openness to procreation.
- Attend together a Life-Giving Love Workshop once in life.
- Avoid the use of artificial contraceptives.
These four means of the feast, the rosary, the picture, and the workshop are vehicles for living the other four points, which are the simple obligations of every married couple: to live marriage as a vocation, actively to uphold its two-fold purpose, to value children and of course to avoid contraception.
There is a brief enrollment ceremony for those couples prepared and willing to make this commitment. The enrollment may take place in a service of the Word, on the Feast of the Holy Spouses, or at the end of the Wedding Mass. The couples wishing to join come forward and hear the following instruction:
Dear couples, God has called you to live a life of love and fidelity with each other as a sign of his love and fidelity for his Church. This is the vocation to the married life. This vocation is very dear and important to the Church and we thank you for your commitment to it. Realizing that sometimes our society does not appreciate the beauty and integrity of this vocation of marriage, God has given you Mary and Joseph as examples and intercessors to help you in living your marriage joyfully and in overcoming difficulties that may arise in the midst of such a society.
Therefore, we, the Oblates of St. Joseph, invite you to take Mary and Joseph, the Holy Spouses, as your models and guides in your married life by becoming members of the Holy Spouses Society. The commitment you make in becoming members of this society will ensure that you will live your marriage according to the teachings of Jesus and his Church and that you will receive the assistance of the Mother of God and the Guardian of the Redeemer, who themselves lived most perfectly the vocation to marriage.
They are then asked a series of questions by which they formally accept the eight-fold commitment. They may then sign an enrollment book or certificate, or be given the Holy Spouses picture to be enthroned at a later date.
The final blessing reads:
May God bless you and sustain you in this commitment so that you may be witnesses in the world of his love and fidelity. May Mary and Joseph, the Holy Spouses, guide and protect you always in your marriage.