Couples blessed at wedding jubilee Mass
Around two dozen married couples celebrating their 25th, 40th, 50th and 60th wedding jubilees were recognized and blessed at a wedding anniversary Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Sunday, Sept. 20, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.
The bishop welcomed all those who were in attendance at the Mass and the couples celebrating their anniversaries from home, watching the liturgy via livestreamed video. The Mass remains available to watch on YouTube @diocesefwsb.
Tom and Barbara Federspiel, parishioners at St. Jude Parish, Fort Wayne, were among the couples marking their anniversary at the morning Mass. The Federspiels were celebrating their 50-year union.
Tom recalled the way that the couple first met each other several decades ago. “She’s been so faithful, so wonderful. I found her in a convent,” he recalled. “She decided she wanted seven kids and she loved to cook, and I thought ‘Oh! This is like dying and going to heaven!’ So, I’ve been blessed.”
He added that the best part of their 50 years of marriage was “probably the kids. We have six.”
“That, and just sharing the joys and sorrows together. You don’t have to do it alone,” his wife added. “Church keeps us going.”
During the jubilee Mass, Bishop Rhoades prayed for the couples. “May you continue to walk together on this journey, helping each other, encouraging each other, caring for each other and respecting each other,” he said.
He reminded them that their journey has a destination: heaven. “Remember, your task in marriage is to help each other get to heaven.”
To this end, the Federspiels heavily involve themselves with the St. Jude Perpetual Adoration Chapel. At a time when many people are asleep, Tom spends hours in the chapel — a tradition he has continued each week for over 30 years. Barbara regularly adores in the morning hours.
Before the couples stood and held hands to renew their wedding vows, the bishop asked them to recall the graces they received on their wedding day.
“On the anniversary of that celebration at which you joined your lives in an unbreakable bond through the sacrament of matrimony, you now intend to renew before the Church the promises you made to one another. Turn to the Lord in prayer,” he asked, “that these vows may be strengthened by divine grace.”
The Federspiels, along with the rest of the anniversary-celebrating couples, turned to each other, holding hands and joining in prayer and thanksgiving for their spouse. Then they prayed together: “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 mankind.”
After the couples prayed, the bishop blessed them, saying “May the Lord keep you safe all the days of your life. May he be your comfort in adversity and your support in prosperity. May he fill your home with his blessings.”
Another Mass to recognize anniversary couples will take place at 2 p.m. Oct. 11 at St. Matthew Cathedral, South Bend. It will be livestreamed as well, on the diocesan YouTube channel.
Number of note
1,135 – Total years of marriage celebrated
25 – Couples honored
4 – Couples celebrating 60 years of marriage
13 – Couples celebrating 50 years of marriage, the largest group
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