Married couples give ‘light for everyone’ to see, bishop says at Marriage Day celebration

| Sara Kovach | June 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

Lorraine Davies closes her eyes as she recites her renewal of marriage vows to her husband, Rod, during the annual Archdiocesan Marriage Day Mass June 9 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The Davies have been married for 66 years and are members of Maternity of the Blessed Virgin parish in St. Paul. The couple joined others for the Mass celebrated by Bishop Lee Piché. Couples marking 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries were honored at the Mass as well as those married more than 50 years. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

When asked what the secret is for making a marriage last, Leona Archeno said a spouse has to have a lot of patience, love and trust in God.

Leona and her husband, Vincent, have been married for 69 years and were honored as one of the longest-married couples in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis during its Marriage Day celebration June 9 at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

In his homily, Bishop Lee Piché said the gathering was a great time to “give thanks to God for the gift of marriage” and that the couples in the pews were a great testament to the success of marriage.

The celebration, sponsored by the archdiocese’s Office of Marriage, Family and Life, featured a large crowd for the 10 a.m. liturgy, at which couples celebrating significant milestone anniversaries of marriage — 25, 50, 60 years or more — were honored. Some couples, including the Archenos, will mark 70 or more years of marriage in 2013.

Bishop Piché’s homily began and concluded with a message from the Gospel of Mathew 5:13-16. He said marriage is similar to a lamp since it is not hidden from everyone but is “placed on a stand and gives light for everyone in the house.”

The married couples at the celebration were great mentors for those around them, he said.

Bishop Piché said that “marriage is an art” and requires practice as any other career or vocation does, for it challenges both husbands and wives to give up themselves over and over again for their spouse.

And those present have continually shown “selfless love” and “a generous flowing of forgiveness” to each other by persevering in their vocation.

Renewing vows

Each of the couples stood after the homily, held hands and renewed the marriage vows they spoke on their wedding day. Many said the moment was very special for them.

“It meant a lot to me to renew our wedding vows,” said Elizabeth Slaby of St. Bonaventure in Bloomington who has been married to her husband, Thomas, for 50 years. “It was a truly blessed celebration.”

Cec Walsh, a member of St. Odilia in Shoreview who brought up the gifts during the offertory with her husband, Bill, said the Mass made her cry with happiness because it helped her to recall wonderful memories of the times they shared together.

They both said having “an understanding wife” and a “devoted husband” is what helped them make it through 50 happy and fulfilling years of marriage.

Bernard Sturgeleski from St. John the Baptist in New Brighton said the one thing he learned from his marriage with his wife, Carol, that helped them face a world often hostile to marriage and family was to never give up.

“We had plenty of ups and down in our marriage, but what made us different is we learned to accept them and we never gave up,” he said.

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