Marriage is a spiritual pilgrimage, bishop tells couples

Hand in hand, couples held their wedding rings up for a special blessing from the Bishop. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Megan Marley

Surrounded by friends and family, 70 couples came to celebrate their golden wedding anniversaries and renew their vows before Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. at the annual Mass and Celebration of 50th Wedding Anniversaries held June 10 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

In his homily, Bishop Johnston thanked the couples for their trust and fidelity in God and each other, and for the witness they have given over the course of 50 years. He drew an analogy between solidly built, long-lasting marriages and the day’s Gospel reading of the house built on solid rock.

“We celebrate, however imperfect, the house that you as couples have built together in 50 years, firmly set on the bedrock of the love of God, and made up of your many thousands, and perhaps billions of actions of fidelity and love for one another and others that form your life now.”

He continued with a chapter from the book “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly.

“The question in the book, ‘Are You a Pilgrim or a Tourist?’ has to do with happiness, and it very much has to do with how a couple should rightly approach marriage.”

“Tourists demand prompt attention and service to their needs and their desires; they focus on themselves and their fulfillment and pleasure and a successful vacation. Tourists go sightseeing and tourists count the cost.”

“Pilgrims are different,” he said. “Pilgrims expect events along the way that will require sacrifice—they anticipate the cross.”

“Pilgrims are looking for meaning; pilgrims count their blessings.”

“Life itself is a pilgrimage for all of us, a sacred journey to our true home in Heaven. We are only here on earth, after all, for the blink of an eye.”

“You may not have thought of it on your wedding day, but my sense is that when you were married, you set out together with the attitude of a pilgrim instead of a tourist.”

“If we consider the first reading today from the Book of Tobit, we see that same attitude reflected in the prayer of these newlyweds, Tobiah and Sarah. They are beginning their pilgrimage through life together, and pray for God’s blessings as they begin. They also reflect an attitude of true love for one another and a trust in God’s mercy and deliverance as they begin their married life.”

Bishop Johnston went on to recall his experience of going to the Holy Land several years ago, and how the entire pilgrimage group was moved by the experience of couples renewing their wedding vows at the site of Jesus’ first public miracle: at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.

“Many of them realized more deeply than ever that God had been with them all along the way—all along the way of their married life through its ups and downs, sustaining them in their needs, comforting them in their griefs, blessing them in their children, their grandchildren and in their friends. And though it all, helping them to deepen their love, and smoothing their rough edges.”

“They all realized that they had become who they are through their married love.”

Though the congregation wasn’t in Cana that day, Bishop Johnston suggested it was a similarly moving moment to pause along the pilgrimage they began 50 years ago, to give thanks for blessings and to renew their dedication to each other and to God.

“You bless us all by renewing your vows and continuing your journey together. And for that, we can all give thanks to God.”

After the homily, couples renewed their vows and, hand in hand, received a blessing of their wedding rings from Bishop Johnston. He also presented each with a gift.

Bishop Johnston personally thanked couples in attendance for the Mass and Celebration of 50th Wedding Anniversaries on June 10, and gave each couple a gift. (Megan Marley/Key photos)

Over 130 couples in the Diocese are celebrating 50 years of marriage; these include:

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Kansas City: Bob and Celina Affolter
Church of the Good Shepherd, Smithville: Bob and Marylou Weinmann
Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, St. Joseph: Harry and Patricia Elder, Thomas and Sophie Jaynes
Coronation of Our Lady Parish, Grandview: Michael and Lynn Rimmer
Holy Family Parish, Kansas City: Jon and Gail Musgrove
Holy Spirit Parish, Lee’s Summit: Don and Carol McCormick, Joe and Eileen Werner
Holy Trinity Parish, Weston: Michael and Cyndee Bohaty
Holy Rosary Parish, Kansas City: Richard and Norma Wheeler
Immaculate Conception Parish, Montrose: William and Carol McEwan, Edwin and Barbara Steinbach
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Harrisonville: John and Maria Candiano, Tom and Susan O’Reilly, Forrest and Lucille Williams
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raytown: John and Jody Buckingham
Our Lady of the Presentation, Lee’s Summit: William and Barbara DeSmet
Sacred Heart/Guadalupe Parish, Kansas City: Beto and Margo Lopez, Ramon and Josephine Rodriguez
Sacred Heart Parish, Warrensburg: Carl and Barbara Donze, James and Linda Piatt, Mike and Diann Richter, Leroy and Karen Wegner
St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Gladstone: Kenny and Maggie Goepferich, Terry and Joan Janne, Leroy and Sharon Raab
St. Ann Parish, Excelsior Springs: Gary and Barbara Grubb, Tom and Judy Kopriva, Dennis and Mary Teiken
St. Ann Parish, Independence: Raymond and Lucy Castellano
St. Ann Parish, Plattsburg: Leroy and Barbara Schwery
St. Anthony Parish, Kansas City: Ira and Linda Smith
St. Bernadette Parish, Kansas City: Anthony and Sandra Lalumia
St. Catherine of Sienna Parish, Kansas City: Bill and Nancy Gallagher
St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Kansas City: William and Beverly Arts, Alfanso and Delfina Ascensio, James and Rosemary Aschentrop, Martin and Marilyn Chavez, Maris and Virginia Hubbell, Richard and Darlene Johnson, Carl and Theresa Morrissey, Frank and Lee Roos, Frank and Eleanor Walberg, Harry and Mary Jane Williams
St. Columba Parish, Conception Junction: Gerald and Rita Auffert, Donald and Kathleen MCrary, Victor and Mary Lee Meyer, Lawrence and Patricia Lager, Gerald and Patricia Schmitz
St. Elizabeth Parish, Kansas City: Jim and Linda Elsloo, Dennis and Maureen Liston, Pat and Vicki Saviano
St. Francis Xavier Parish, Kansas City: Moses and Delores Edwards, Robert and Mary Florance, Terry and Ruth Noel
St. Francis Xavier Parish, St. Joseph: James and Sharon Edelman, Roger and Connie Fleckal
St. Gabriel Parish, Kansas City: Norma and Nancy Adams, Dan and Patricia Birdsell, Frank and Carol Leocardi, Jose and Salvacion Medallada
St. Gregory Barbarigo Parish, Maryville: Roger and Carol North
St. James Parish, Kansas City: William and Nancy Moylan
St. James Parish, Liberty: John and Nancy Barrington, Daniel and Mary Colgan, Kermit and Mary Davis, James and Doris Esser, Richard and Jeanette Gaudin, Nicholas and Terry Guaetta, Chuck and Linda Lewis, Patrick and Verna Morgan, Michael and JoAn Morris, Ralph and Jan Peters, Richard and Irene Razniak, William and Cheryl Robertson, Ron and Alice Rusch, Doug and Mary Schuster, James and Theresa Welsh
St. John Francis Regis Parish, Kansas City: David and Denise Kopek
St. John LaLande Parish, Blue Springs: James and Norine Brune, Rodney and Shirley Loesch, George and Gloria Washington
St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Independence: John and Lupe Calderon
St. Jude the Apostle Parish, Oak Grove: Jerry and Ann Arndorfer, Robert and Joyce Peterson, Richard and Agnes Street
St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, Lee’s Summit: Dan and Linda Cline, Robert and Mary Frost, James and Janice O’Rouke
St. Mark Parish, Independence: John and Rebecca Fisher, Lawrence and Linda Hill, Gene and Carolann Hoppe, Greg and Dona Jacobs, John and Cheryl King, Mike and Mary Jo McCoy, James and Dana Smith
St. Mary Parish, Higginsville: Bruce and Nancy Spain
St. Mary Parish, Independence: Jerry and Rosemarie Nicas
St. Matthew the Apostle Parish, Kansas City: Richard and Linda Defries, Joseph and Leona Dekat
St. Munchin Parish, Cameron: Ronald and Maureen Sharp
St. Patrick, North Parish, Kansas City: Bob and Marilyn Rowland
St. Sabina Parish, Belton: Terry and Mary Eppert, Victor and Rosita Reyes
St. Therese, North Parish, Kansas City: Frank and Susan Cohara, Dan and Linda Ladd
St. Thomas More Parish, Kansas City: Milton and Mary Sue Adams, Dewey and Paulette Antone, Joseph and Rose Marie Arello, Bob and Joan Bessenbacher, Greg and Joy Fisher, Alex and Judy Gromowsky, James and Catherine Hartman, Thomas and Rosalie Karczewski, Thomas and Donna Lambertz, Mike and Carolyn Lawrence, Larry and Ruth Moore, Stanley and Sandy Reigel, Joseph and Elizabeth Spalitto, Robert and Paula Switzer, Richard and Janet Woulfe
Visitation Parish, Kansas City: Earl & Joan Adam, Sam & Jill Alpert, Felix & Rose Arroyo, Tony & Celeste Gogel, John & Julitta Langle, Jim & Jody Olson, James & Kathy Polsinelli, Larry & June Rouse, Mario & Kathy Scaglia


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October 31, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph