By Fr. Santo Arrigo, C.Ss.R.
Love! Ever old and yet ever new! In a time when commitments are questioned, fidelity doubted, and trust expressed with fingers crossed behind our backs, it becomes very hard to appreciate and understand our human capacity to love, and to love with the simple promise of a new day.
For the first time since the pandemic began in 2020, Ignite Ministry and St. Patrick’s Parish in Toronto welcomed engaged and married couples for an evening of great food, wine, conversation and reflection as they celebrate one another in their love and commitment to each other. Table 4 Two began as a ministry to young adult couples in Winnipeg with the Yorkton RYVM about 20 years ago, and has been taking place in Toronto since about 2008, except of course for 2021 when we were in the midst of the lockdown, and again in 2022, when, uncertain about precautions with the Omicron virus, we prepared the meals for 20 couples and delivered the meals, supplies and the wine to their houses!
Thankfully we were blessed with the opportunity to welcome our couples again in person for this phenomenal annual event. In addition to the great food and wine, couples sit at a table just by themselves, and are treated to a four-course meal, served with questions that are meant to guide the couple through moments of reflection, sharing from the heart, and growth in intimacy with one another and with God. Many who have participated over the years have remarked how much this has reminded them of the growth and challenges that were put before them during their marriage preparation. A veteran couple is invited to share with the guests about their own journey as a couple towards marriage, integration of their faith, and challenges that they have encountered over the years.
Of the 23 couples who attending this year, 8 were there for the first time, while many had participated before over the years, with a few couples who had been taking part for 7-9 years! Each year, the couples receive new and challenging questions that no doubt reflect their journey and opportunity to reflect on the sacrament of marriage in their life, their vocation and call to married life, and the presence of God in their midst.
Events like this take on a whole life of their own, and come together through the support of parishioners at St. Patrick’s, the Redemptorists in and around the city of Toronto, and the Ignite Planning Team for whom this is one of the crowning events of the year.
It has been a blessing to welcome back our couples to Table 4 Two and all the other Ignite events taking place this past year. The Lord continues to bless us with the opportunity to serve and be served by those for whom we are called and to share life’s journey.