Sunday 21 January 2018

'Respect, cherish, trust and devotion' - Engaged Irish couple share their 'Meaning of Marriage' at Valentine's ring blessing

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Valentine’s came early for one happy couple earlier today as they received a blessing on their engagement at Dublin’s Whitefriar Church.

Bishop Denis Nulty carried out the blessing of Leona Gallagher and Paul McNulty at the Shrine of Saint Valentine within the church.

The event coincided with the presentation of Ámarach research entitled ‘The Meaning of Marriage’ from the bishop who also acts as president of ACCORD.

The engaged couple said they were delighted to take part in today’s event as it reflected their strong religious backgrounds and their belief in the importance of marriage.

“We both come from very religious backgrounds, we were both brought up in the Catholic Church so we were very happy to do it,” Leona told

“I’ve got a very strong Catholic background so when we got this opportunity, we both jumped at it,” added Paul.

“It was lovely idea to get the ring blessed by the bishop coming towards Valentine’s Day”.

When asked what they believed was their answer to the ‘meaning of marriage’, they replied:

“Respect, cherish, trust, devotion, following religious steps – and family”.  

Bishop Nulty was joined by Gerard O’Neill from Ámarach in announcing the results of the 2014 survey which delved into the changing attitudes of people towards marriage and family.

In the online poll of 1000 adults, almost half disagreed with the statement that “most married couples I know have happy, healthy marriages” with almost half of those surveyed believing that the union of marriage is “an old-fashioned, out-moded institution”.

These results were compared to similar analysis conducted on behalf of ACCORD eight years ago.

“There is no doubt that in many parts of the world attitudes to marriage and the family have changed dramatically in recent years – including here in Ireland,” said Bishop Nulty.

The bishop stated that the recent debate about same sex marriage had also affected perceptions among people in Ireland.

Today’s results showed that some 65pc of people agreed that “a child is more likely to grow up happy if raised in a home with a loving mother and father”.

Bishop Nulty said that the figures highlighted the belief in the “right for every child to know or to be brought up by his or her mother and father”.

“There is no law or legislation that can changed the meaning of marriage. It is vital that the definition of the meaning is protected and conserved.”

“There is no reliable data on same sex relationships,” he added.

Leona and Paul, who are due to get married in Dunboyne, Co  Meath, next summer, will be continuing their Valentine’s celebrations this weekend with an engagement party in Dublin’s city centre.

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