Couples renew vows at annual anniversary Mass
By Denver Catholic Register
Photo by James Baca/DCR
“A marriage upon which (Christ’s) school of gratitude and openness has left its mark of joy and warmth, is a sign of the kingdom,” notes the U.S. bishops’ 2009 pastoral letter, “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan.”
In keeping with that theme, the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass for couples celebrating 25, 50 or 50-plus years of marriage was joyfully celebrated by Bishop James Conley, apostolic administrator for the Denver Archdiocese, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the afternoon of Oct. 1.
Nearly 250 couples registered for the Mass, which is organized by the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life. Two couples who attended have been married for 68 years: Ann and James Lease of Holy Cross Church in Thornton, and Rosemary and Russell Baker of Notre Dame Church in Denver.
“In every case, their fidelity to marriage in good times and bad, sickness and health is a witness to all of us in the Church of northern Colorado to the fidelity with which Christ loves the Church,” Phil Webb, director of the Marriage and Family Life Office, told the Denver Catholic Register.
“In his teachings on married love, Pope John Paul II continually reaffirmed that marriage is ‘one of the most precious of human values,’” Webb said. “In a world that so often doubts the possibility of a lasting marriage, these couples shine as a beacon of hope.”
Wearing their Sunday best, couples renewed their marriage vows, kissed and received a blessing from the bishop. At the end of the Mass, each couple received a gift book of reflections on the family by Pope Benedict XVI.
The second reading from Philippians intoned, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” (4:6-9).
“Wedding anniversaries are just such things,” asserted Webb.