Despite the torrential rains outside, the hearts and spirits of over 60 married couples inside the Cathedral of Saint Patrick were lifted as they renewed their marriage commitment during the Annual Diocesan Silver and Golden Anniversary Mass.
Sixty-seven couples, ranging in years married from 25 to 70 years, registered for this year’s Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Cote. He told the couples gathered, “We join with our jubilarians in thanking God for His outpouring of love that seals the love of husband and wife…In your love, in your fidelity, we see Christ and His faithful self-giving love. Through the Sacrament of Matrimony, you give yourselves to Christ and you give Christ to one another. You belong to one another, and you belong to Christ.”
Those remarks were echoed by the homilist, Deacon Bryan Jones of St. Mary, Jewett City; St. Catherine, Preston; and St. Thomas and St. Ann, Voluntown: “On the day you joined hands and made your vows to one another, you did so in the presence of the Lord. The two of you were gathered in His name. You invited Him to join in your union that day. You asked for His blessing, His help, His strength, and His patience in your relationship as husband and wife.”
He continued, “All the joys and the sorrows, the hopes and the dreams, the love and the losses, the give and the take, the good times, and the bad times, you have made it through all of that because He has walked alongside you in your journey. He has been in your midst.”
Deacon Jones reflected on the 58-year marriage of his own parents and how despite the death of his father, his mother still expresses gratitude that God blessed them for all the years they had together and walked with them. “Even now after Dad’s passing, she knows that He still walks with them,” he said, noting the beautiful example of enduring love his parents set for he and his wife. He assured the couples that they, too, are a similar example for their families and children teaching them, as his parents taught him, to care as Christ cared; to forgive as Christ forgave and to love as Christ loved.
Referring to the last line in the day’s Gospel from St. Matthew in which Jesus states, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” Deacon Jones told the couples his message that day was simply to remind them their marriages have succeeded, “Because it has not been a marriage just between the two of you.”
He closed his remarks by noting, “My prayer for each of you is that you thank Jesus for joining with you on your journey, that He continue to do so, and that you continue to be an example of His love to those around you.”
Following the homily, Bishop Cote led the couples in a renewal of their marriage commitment. The spouses prayed, “Blessed are you, Lord, for in the good and the bad times of our life, you have stood lovingly by our side. Help us, we pray, to remain faithful in our love for one another, so that we may be true witnesses to the covenant you have made with humankind.”
By Mary-Jo McLaughlin
Link to Special Anniversary page containing Participant names, Photo Gallery, and Anniversary Booklet,