A proud couple stand with their children to be photographed for the “Happily Married Flash Mob” in St. Gregory the Great Church, Hamilton Square. Photo courtesy of Susan Scibilia

A proud couple stand with their children to be photographed for the “Happily Married Flash Mob” in St. Gregory the Great Church, Hamilton Square. Photo courtesy of Susan Scibilia

By EmmaLee Italia | Contributing Editor

St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, is putting marriage front and center with its “Happily Married Flash Mob” promoted on the parish’s website and social media.

An activity begun by the newly formed marriage ministry in St. Gregory the Great, “Marriage Matters,” the YouTube video features a running series of couples holding a “Happily Married For [blank] Years” sign, with the number of years filled in by each couple.

Watch: 'Happily Married Flash Mob'

Peg Hensler, diocesan associate director of Marriage Ministry and NFP, commended the parish’s use of a World Marriage Day resource, adapting it to fit their own community.

“I came across a ‘flash mob for marriage’ when researching activities for World Marriage Day,” she explained. People all over the world were holding signs in videos noting their years of happy marriage. “It’s simple, but so beautiful … I put it as a link for parishes on the World Marriage resource page. I give so much credit to St. Gregory’s for taking that idea and finding an easy way to adapt it, creating a wonderful visual image of what marriage is all about.”

Barbara Moore, member of the parish’s marriage ministry with her husband, Deacon Joe Moore, picked up on the idea and included her own web search of happy couples. “I thought this would be a great way to inspire people in our community,” she said.

Couples were asked as they left Palm Sunday Masses to have their photos taken to help inspire other married and engaged couples, as well as teens and young children.

“At first, many walked by and said ‘thank you,’” Moore recalled. “But as we explained that we were trying to inspire young people to achieve successful marriages by showing them that happy long-lasting marriages exist all around them, most couples were anxious to help.

“As we shot the photos, we reminded the couples of their many years together, and they smiled,” she continued. “We found couples that were newly engaged, and we found couples that had been married more than 65 years.”

Moore said she hoped that the flash mob made people think about why their love is still going strong, and the role that God and the Church have in their marriages.

“Maybe the car rides home from church that day were filled with reminiscing about first dates, when they fell in love, the wedding day and all the happy days that followed,” she said.

So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “[Parishioners] thought it was a great idea, and a couple of people who missed [the chance to have their photo taken] expressed interest in becoming a part of it,” Moore said.

The ministry plans to keep adding to the video with additional photos as they are submitted, so that all who wish can be included in the flash mob. They have also invited people whose spouses have died to submit a photo with the number of years they were married as well.

While Barbara and Deacon Joe – married for 36 years – have helped get the marriage ministry off the ground, “we like to say that everyone who is married or supports marriage is a member of the ministry,” she said. Though still in the planning stages, the group does have some ideas for upcoming marriage-building activities and materials.

“We will have an information session on convalidation – it’s a Cohort activity, with our fellow Cohort parishes,” Moore explained. “We also plan to have some meet-and-greets after Masses so married couples can interact. We’re working on a tri-fold pamphlet [about the ministry], as well as a pamphlet for newly engaged couples.

“Marriage is so important,” she continued. “It’s the foundation of everything.”

To view the “Happily Married Flash Mob” video, visit the St. Gregory the Great Church YouTube channel, or stgregorythegreatchurch.org/marriage.