MANILA, Philippines—Thinking of renewing your vows with your spouse? You don’t need to be in a gown or tux. Just head to Rizal Park with your marriage contracts on Saturday and help break a world record for the greatest number of couples reaffirming their marital commitment simultaneously.
In celebration of its 33rd anniversary, Catholic lay group Couples for Christ (CFC) announced their plan to smash United Kingdom’s record of having enlisted 1,400 couples renewing their marital vows at the same time in February.
George Campos, executive director of CFC Global Mission Foundation, said their group would try to gather at least 5,000 married Filipino couples at Rizal Park at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. The ceremony will be officiated by at least five bishops.
“But this is not just a game of numbers,” said Campos at the weekly forum hosted by the Catholic Media Network in Intramuros, Manila, on Tuesday.
“We are trying to say [here] that marriage must be protected and must be sanctified and we still believe in marriage and we also want to say to others that you must also believe in marriage,” Campos told reporters.
Citing records from the National Statistics Office (NSO), which showed a decline in the number of people getting married despite the booming population, Campos said the figures implied that many Filipinos, especially the young ones, have started to move away from marriage as a viable option.
Based on the NSO records, there was a 1.3-percent decline in the number of Filipinos tying the knot from 482,480 in 2010 to 476,408 the following year.
Campos said many young Filipinos have delayed getting hitched or have even dropped the idea of marriage altogether to focus on their careers.
This inclination has been bolstered by television, particularly soap operas, which have been portraying marriage as a difficult and an easily broken bond, he added.
“Look at what is being shown on television about marriage. A movie about a good marriage is very, very minimal. In hindsight, what the young ones see on TV, that marriage is difficult…[also encourages] them not to get married,” he added.
Children whose parents are in a bad marriage will also most likely defer or shrug off marriage later, according to Campos.
“There is too much attack on the family nowadays and it is really a big challenge,” added Cynthia, wife of Campos. “If we will not act, the family will slowly be destroyed and these marriages will become non-existent,” she added.
The couple said the CFC decided to host a mass renewal of marriage vows and attempt to break UK’s feat in the Guinness World Records to promote the sanctity of marriage.
“We want to send out the message that really marriage is so vital in our life. Let us protect our families,” said Cynthia. “What we are going to do on Saturday is to make a stand on the sanctity of marriage and our family,” she added.
Filipino Catholic couples who wish to participate in the attempt are instructed to bring their marriage contracts. Couples are not being required to come in formal or semi-formal wear; casual wear appropriate for Sunday gatherings are welcome, according to the couple.
“This is a family affair so they can bring their kids. They can also come in their casual clothes,” added Cynthia.