Wedding Anniversary Mass
Bishop urges couples to pray aloud together
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
(PHOTOS) Bishop John B. Brungardt urged couples who were gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City Oct. 20 to “pray together daily, pouring out your thoughts and feelings to the Lord”.
Dozens of couples from across southwest Kansas converged on the cathedral on the plains for the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass, which was followed by a dinner reception.
“We thank you, God,” the bishop said, “for your presence in these marriages. Please help them to grow ever closer to you and to each other throughout this life so they may rejoice in your love eternally.”
The couples grasped hands and renewed their love and commitment to each other: “Today, I renew my commitment to you,” they said to one another. “I promise to love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
For some couples, it was a celebration of five years wed, while for others, the five years had long since turned into 10, then 20, and for some, more than 70 years -- an uplifting example of love and commitment.
Bishop Brungardt proudly looked out at his flock, a smile stretching across his face.
“I love the passage from the Book of Tobit describing newlyweds praying together,” the bishop said in his homily. Tobit’s son Tobiah had just married Sarah, and on their wedding night, Tobiah prayed with Sarah:
“Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors;…. You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve to be his helper and support;…. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a helper like himself.’ ...With fidelity, I take this kinswoman as my wife. Send down your mercy on me and on her, and grant that we may grow old together. Bless us with children.”
“Yes, husband and wife are partners, helpmates,” the bishop said. “...But they are not alone: God is there to bless them, show mercy to them, gift them with children, give them joy, and comfort them in their sorrow.
“Couples,” the bishop continued, “do you pray together daily, pouring out your thoughts and feelings to the Lord? You share the most intimate physical gift possible in the marital embrace. Yet you may feel embarrassed to pray together with such affection. Remember, God knows your thoughts and feelings better than you do! The Lord wants to hear you, and your spouse wants to hear you in prayer. Our Psalmist wrote: ‘The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade.’ Rest together in His shade and pray always.”
Among those celebrating their anniversaries were longest married couple to attend the ceremony, Bruno and Marceline Hoffman of Dodge City, married 72 years. This is the third year in a row in which the couple were presented the honor. Bruno, who turned 100 years old the day after the event, told the SKR last year one of his secrets to a happy marriage. He said simply, “Don’t forget to say ‘I love you.’”
Jessica and Chad Geurts were among those celebrating their first five years of marriage. The couple relocated to Dodge City from Michigan last March. Jessica is an environmental engineer, and Chad is an environmental scientist. When asked if they had discovered any secrets of their own to a happy marriage, Jessica replied, “We’re lucky that we have good communication and don’t fight. We laugh a lot and try to have fun.”
“I think it’s a good idea, like they say, to never go to bed mad,” Chad added. Chad is currently conducting wildlife surveys around area wind farms, while Jessica is studying the environmental impacts of flooding.
Following the Mass, the couples and their families enjoyed a roast beef dinner in the social hall, where Bishop Brungardt presented each couple a certificate and gift bag provided by Catholic Social Service.