Yesterday, my family went to St. Philip Neri church in Kenner to show support for my husband’s parents. They participated in an Archdiocesan prayer service for couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage. The ceremony was wonderful!
It began with a walk down memory lane – recalling things as they were back in 1961, the year that many of these couples were married…the #1 song for that year, the price of gasoline, top movies, etc. Then the jubilarian couples renewed their vows. Afterward, the archbishop invited the husbands to kiss their wives. A joyful wave of chuckles swept over the audience of invited guests! Next, the couples were presented with a certificate commemorating their special anniversary, and a blessing was extended to them by the archbishop.
I was so moved by the sheer number of the couples in attendance – together after all these years. There were over one hundred of them. What a beautiful testament to the sacrament of marriage!
The oldest couple at the service had been married for seventy – yes, SEVENTY years. They were adorable! Both were frail and in wheel chairs, however, their tender love for one another was still evident. The husband watched his wife attentively and affectionately. She smiled from ear to ear, and reached out to hold his hand.
My parents and my husband’s parents have celebrated fifty years of marriage this past year. Their commitment to one another through good times and in bad…in sickness and in health…for richer and for poorer – has stood the test of time. Both couples serve as beautiful role models to all of their family members and to the world of what marriage can be. I know that one of their secrets for having lasting, happy marriages is the tie that bonds them together – God – at the center of their lives. In return for their commitment to God and to each other, our Heavenly Father has showered their marriages with grace to overcome, to withstand, to encourage, to love – and to go the distance. We love them and thank them for their inspiring love!