There’s something Fr Bart Parys SVD wants Catholic couples to do together this Valentine's: pray.

“Very few people pray as a married couple – or as an engaged couple,” he said. "Someone can have a rich spiritual life and is happy to pray to God on their own. But to express yourself before your spouse, even if they love to pray, can be difficult. But there is power in that kind of prayer.”

For Valentine’s, he’s bringing people together from across the Archdiocese to show how it can strengthen their unity and faith.

Fr Bart (above), a Divine Word Missionary (SVD) based in the west of Ireland, hosts an afternoon retreat titled Together Before the Lord for married couples and those preparing for marriage at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh on Saturday (15th).

He said: “I enjoy it and it gives me great joy to see lives transformed. The unity between the couples, the wounds healed, the growth in love – even their presence – speaks to you.

“It won’t just be the beautiful above-the-head explanation, all that fancy stuff that no-one gets (laughs). It will be the practical stuff as well, almost like a workshop. So I will explain and encourage couples how they can pray together in their daily life.”

He added: “It doesn’t have to be a long prayer – it can be something simple, like praying the Our Father together before bed. Their unity will be improved a lot.”

“It’s good to spend Valentine’s together, to renew your love to each other in the presence of the Lord. Let’s celebrate Valentine’s in a Catholic way.”

The event is brought to you by our commission on marriage and family life.

Fr Jeremy Milne, who leads the commission, said: "Valentine's Day is rightly associated with couples celebrating their love with romantic gestures. With this event, we wanted couples to reflect on the importance of praying together as a means of nurturing that love by connecting with the Divine love of God."

'Together Before the Lord' is a free afternoon retreat for married couples and those preparing for marriage. It takes place on Saturday 15 February at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh from 2-5pm. Spaces are limited so register now on Eventbrite. Each person attending needs to register, so two tickets per couple.