Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer
September 16, 2009 // Local

Anniversary couples celebrate with special Mass, reception

Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer

FORT WAYNE — Couples observing their 25th or 50th wedding anniversaries this year gathered Sunday afternoon for a special celebratory Mass at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne with Bishop John M. D’Arcy as presider. Afterwards, they and family members in attendance enjoyed a reception with refreshments, socializing and picture taking at the nearby Grand Wayne Center.

The cathedral was filled nearly to capacity as Bishop D’Arcy spoke of the love of Christ for his people and how that love is expressed between man and wife. He reminded them, “This Mass is about renewing the gift of oneself to God and to one another … love each other as Christ loves his church.”

Bishop D’Arcy also reminded his audience of the declaration of Pope Benedict XVI making this the Year for Priests, as it is the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests. He asked couples to reflect on the important role of priests in their own lives, from the one who officiated at their wedding to those who hear their confessions, dispense sage advice and baptize their children. “There is no holy marriage without priests,” he said.

Finally, an expectant hush filled the cathedral as the anniversary couples were asked to rise, “renew the sacred moment” and reaffirm their marriage vows to each other. Bishop D’Arcy congratulated them, saying, “You have remained faithful and exhibited responsibility.”

Later, many of the anniversary couples who attended the ceremony confirmed the importance of faith in their long-time marriages.

Bob and Mary Wilson came from Albion where they are members of Blessed Sacrament Parish. Mary said, “Faith … You can’t make it without that.”

Anne Marie Wilson of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish glanced at her husband Charlie and echoed that sentiment, “Faith — it’s always there,” she said.

Russell and Sharon Sorg, parishioners at St. Aloysius, Yoder, noted the need to keep God in a marriage. Sharon said, “Marriage is between husband, wife and God. If you don’t have God in there, you won’t succeed.”

Frances and Boris Kuzeff of St. Therese Parish also acknowledged God’s presence in their lives. “Faith keeps everybody together,” said Frances. Larry and Gloria Spieth of St. John, New Haven, advised couples to go to church together.

Jeff Young and his wife Theresa came from St. Mary Parish in Huntington to attend the special celebration. Active in Knights of Columbus, Jeff noted the importance of the church in their family’s life and the necessity of communication between spouses.

Mary and Keron Ledwuith of St. John the Baptist Parish agreed on respect for one another as vital to a long-lasting marriage. “But some days it’s 90-10 and some days it’s 50-50,” said Mary with a smile.

Fellow St. John parishioners Marion and Marie Aksamit advised couples to be kind to each other. And Carmen and Enrique Olivas reminded spouses to love and help one another.

Sunday’s special celebration with dozens of anniversary couples represented hundreds of years of strong faith in God and commitment to his church and to each other. They would surely agree with Bishop D’Arcy when he said, “Prayer should be part of this important day.”

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