Married couples attend anniversary Mass ... in their honor
There is always a certain look of pride on the faces of those who come to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City to celebrate their marriage at the diocesan-wide anniversary Mass and reception.
On Oct. 16, nearly 80 couples from across the diocese attended the celebration, thrown by the diocese in their honor, examples of faithful adherence to the sacrament of marriage, proof that with love, effort, and faith in God, marriages can survive and thrive.
The longest married couple was once again Bruno and Marceline Hoffman, married 70 years. Marceline gave her simple secret to a long marriage: “Lots of Love.”
“Don’t forget to say ‘I love you,’” added Bruno, who just turned 98. Soon after the couple were married 70 years ago, Bruno headed off to fight in World War II, and wouldn’t return for more than two years.
Following the Mass was a dinner reception in which each couple received a certificate presented by Bishop John B. Brungardt. Following is his homily from the Mass, presented in its entirety:
St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians (1:1-5) contains the theological virtues: “Unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love, and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul also describes these three virtues in a popular wedding passage from first Corinthians 13:13: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” These virtues, ways to please God, all directly link our actions to our loving Lord:
Faith is belief in God and His ways. Faith is a gift from the Lord, and it can also be developed by our prayer and sacramental life. Hope is trusting in God. Hope adds the idea of turning our lives over to God’s plan, knowing that He will help us. Love is not a physical love like “I love pizza!” Love is a sacrificial, unconditional, giving love. Love like Jesus: to lay down my life for another. St. Paul reminds us that with these virtues, we can follow Jesus’ path. Head and heart, Mom and Dad
St. Paul describes the husband as the head of the family, and Pope Pius XI describes the wife as the heart of the family (CC #10). This is not a greater or lesser role, but a mutual act of “self-giving by each one to the other and by both to the children which is proper to marriage and the family” explains John Paul II (FC #22). How is this shown realistically? My dad and mom are the best examples I know of, so I will give two examples of the head and heart of my family:
First: Dad grew up in Salina, and he went out to the family farm in Victoria in the summers. Mom was raised in Texarkana, Arkansas, and was a city-girl. My brothers and sisters and I grew up in Manhattan. Dad yearned for the farm life, especially as a place to raise children. He finally mentioned the subject of moving to a farm to Mom. She probably thought he was crazy! Miles from the city; animals, manure! But they talked, and in mutual love and trust, decided to move to a farm near Abilene. My fondest memories growing up are from that farm -- such a wonderful life close to God’s wondrous creation. I took care of the pigs! Dad’s headship uniting with Mom’s heart in mutual love to reach the mission of Christ in raising my siblings and me.
Second: A powerful example:When I was grown, Mom and Dad moved again, to a city that had a college. At that school there was a young co-ed named Sue. Sue was pregnant, and tried to hide her situation. She wore baggy clothes, and did not tell anyone. The time came, and Sue went to a storeroom in the basement of the dorm and, alone, gave birth to her child. The baby died, and Sue was taken to the hospital.
The scandal swept through the college and the city. When Mom heard of Sue and her baby, she went to Dad. Mom told Dad that they should bring Sue into their home. Dad probably thought she was crazy! But they talked, and in mutual love and trust, decided to provide a loving home for Sue. Dad called the dean of the college and made arrangements, and Sue came to a home filled with love, compassion, and help during her traumatic time. Mom’s heart uniting with Dad’s headship in mutual love to reach the mission of Christ in embracing the least one of us.
Christ and the Church
“This is a great mystery; I speak in reference to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5). St. Paul draws the vivid parallel of the wife and husband like the Church and Christ. The wife serves the husband as the Church serves Christ. The husband cares for his wife as Christ cares for His Church. This self-giving, each to the other, is what the sacrament of marriage is all about. This covenantal love expresses itself in physical love, leading to the co-creative act of bringing forth children, as the “two shall be one flesh.” This sacrificial love shows itself in charitable acts toward all people.
Marriage is for a man and a woman, as God planned from the beginning. Some courts, legislatures, and groups are looking at redefining marriage. Some say we should have marriage of a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Homosexual unions are not in God’s plan. People with homosexual attractions are called to a life of chaste celibacy, refraining from sexual relations. Priests and religious are also called to a life of chaste celibacy, refraining from sexual relations. Only in a committed marriage between a man and a woman has God designed marital relations, for love and procreation.
Catholics are called to the sacramental life that Jesus gave us through His Catholic Church. A Catholic is called to be married by a Catholic priest or Catholic deacon (or otherwise approved by the bishop). For Catholics who have not been married by a priest or deacon and wish to have their marriage recognized by the Catholic Church, we have a process called “convalidation.” Remember, a Catholic not married by permission of the Catholic Church cannot receive communion. This is not a punishment, but rather a realization that Catholics are called to the sacramental life. The sacrament of marriage should be received before the sacrament of Eucharist can resume. Speak with your priest if you need to have your marriage convalidated by the Catholic Church. I have helped many couples with this great gift of Jesus.
Wives and husbands, share your lives in mutual love and trust. Give to each other as Christ gives to His Church, as we give to Christ. Live under the mission of Jesus Christ our Savior. Grow in head and heart by uniting to each other in the Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Eucharist. Let these words truly be “the words of eternal life.”
Refs: Familiaris Consortio, Casti Connubii.