As excitement builds over the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have issued a prayer in honor of the couple.
The prayer asks that the couple are granted the strength to serve God, the UK and the Commonwealth with integrity and faithfulness.
The Rt Rev John Hine, Chair of the Bishops' Committee for Marriage and Family Life, said: 'I would like to congratulate the Royal couple on their marriage, and I am sure they will be in the minds and prayers of Catholic church congregations around England and Wales on their great day. It is only right that we should strongly support them in prayer since marriage is such an intimate and personal journey and yet we expect our Royalty to have a life-long high profile in the media. We pray that they may always put their relationship first, and, out of the strength their relationship gives them, may they become wonderful parents.'
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, will attend the service in Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011.
The Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales's prayer for use around the time of the Royal Wedding reads:
we ask your blessing
upon his Royal Highness, Prince William and Catherine
as they pledge their love for each other in marriage.
May your love unite them through their lives.
Grant them the strength to serve you, our country and the Commonwealth
with integrity and faithfulness.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prince William and Catherine Middleton are to be married on April 29 at Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams with the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, giving the address.
Thousands of people are expected to travel to London for the Royal wedding and an estimated 2 billion people are set to view the event on televisions worldwide. The congregation will be comprised of 1,900 friends and family.
Feast of St Catherine of Siena
The Royal Wedding is on the Feast Day of St Catherine of Siena. His Eminence, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, was assigned the titular church of the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva when he was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001. The Basilica houses the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena.
His Eminence, who will be attending the wedding, said ahead of the big day: 'It is beautiful that they are being married on the feast of St. Catherine of Siena. St. Catherine was a Dominican Tertiary and a bold and wonderful saint. She is both a Doctor of the Church and one of the Patronesses of Europe. Here are two quotes from her writings: ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire’ and, talking to God, she said, ‘You make the heart big – not stingy – so big it has room in its loving charity for everyone.’