Couples celebrate 5,000 years combined marriages at Golden Wedding Mass

Anniversary couples raise their hands with their wedding rings to be incensed and blessed before being invited to process up the center aisle to meet Bishop Johnston and receive their gifts. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — One hundred couples, many accompanied by children and grandchildren, gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on June 2, Ascension Sunday, for the Mass celebrating 50th Wedding Anniversaries. As Mass started, the sun was shining in a brilliant blue sky. The procession entered the Cathedral narthex and paused for the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of Water. After blessing the water, Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., took up the aspergillum and, smiling broadly, proceeded up the center aisle sprinkling holy water on those on both sides of the aisle. Many made the Sign of the Cross as the droplets descended.

Bishop Johnston was the principal celebrant with Fathers Paul Turner and Justin Hoye concelebrating.

The First Reading, Acts 1:1-11, was proclaimed in Spanish; the Second Reading, Hebrews 9:24-28, 10:19-23, was proclaimed in Vietnamese. The Gospel, Luke 24: 46-53, was proclaimed in English.

As he began his homily, Bishop Johnston, welcomed the congregation to the Cathedral for the Mass celebrating the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven, “… with a desire to offer thanksgiving with our couples who are celebrating their Golden Anniversary of Marriage this year. And so, we especially welcome you couples and your families and friends.

“I understand,” he said, “that we have present right at 100 couples celebrating 50 years of marriage today—that’s 5,000 years of marriage in this church! And we had several dozen more couples in the diocese who responded that they would be unable to be with us in person, so we offer thanks for and with them today too.

“I speak for our entire Church when I say ‘thank you’ for your married love and your fidelity to each other. Your love is at the foundation that holds society together. Your married love is also symbolic of Christ’s love for the Church. Your love has helped to serve God’s Kingdom on earth. Those are all terribly important things, and marriage underpins all of them.

“My own mother and father were married for almost 62 years, and it was especially in those ‘Golden’ years that I realized how powerful a force their love was for them and for me. For my mom and dad, and I know for each of you, marriage helped them to become themselves.

“You see, we human beings become who we are by the choices we make. Marriage is a choice to love permanently, faithfully, freely, and fruitfully. It begins on a day and ends on the day one of the spouses dies, but in between, it is a series of renewed choices. And, through those choices based on promises, one is shaped into the person one becomes. A married couple help shape one another into who they become through their love. . . changed by choices to love. I am sure that many times over, you have stumbled and not loved perfectly, or did not at all sometimes. Your love has included many occasions when you needed to forgive one another. Your love likely encountered the conditions predicted when you first promised to be true to each other in your wedding vows, in good times and in bad, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health. This perseverance in love changes us.

“I like re-telling a story I heard when I was bishop in Southern Missouri, Springfield-Cape Girardeau. The retired bishop that I succeeded would often visit one of the nursing homes in Springfield. There was a woman there who had Alzheimer’s disease, and her husband of over 60 years would visit her every day without fail and had been doing so for over a decade. The bishop was amazed at this and so one day he asked the man, ‘Fred, you visit her every day, and she doesn’t even know who you are.’ His response was quite profound: ‘Oh, but bishop, I know who she is.’ That is married love. That is also the person that becomes from loving.

“One this Feast of the Ascension, we encounter the Love of Christ. We see from where we are how Christ poured forth the love of God upon us when He sent the Holy Spirit upon the Church and included us in His mission from the Father to transform and save the world through Love. Each of us have a role in that mission through our baptism.

“As we thank God today for the covenant of faithful married love between a man and a woman in marriage, let us also thank God for binding us to Himself through the new covenant brought about by His Son, whereby we are joined to God in the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. We celebrate this union between humanity and God in the Holy Eucharist, the ‘wedding banquet of the Lamb.’

“May God bless each of you as you continue your journey through life together; and may God bless each of us as we continue our journey to our Father’s house together. And, may unselfish love mark each of our steps along the Way.”

Following the homily, the Jubilarians were asked to stand and hold hands. The husbands said, “Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took (wife’s name) as my wife.” The wives said, “Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took (husband’s name) as my husband.” Together they said, “Blessed are you Lord, for in the good and bad times of our life, you have stood lovingly by our side. Help us we pray, to remain faithful in our love for one another, so that we may be true witnesses to the covenant you have made with humankind.”

Bishop Johnston said, “May the Lord keep you safe all the days of your life. May he be your comfort in adversity and your support in prosperity. May he fill your home with his blessings through Christ our Lord.”

Then the anniversary couples held up their ring hand to be incensed and blessed.

The 100 couples were then invited to approach the foot of the sanctuary steps where Bishop Johnston was standing with Deacons Paul Muller and Robert Falke to receive their gifts and a personal greeting from the bishop. Bishop Johnston shook hands with each husband and wife and spoke with them for a moment. He handed each couple a box and a card. The Mass continued.

Following the Mass, a dessert reception was held at the Catholic Center for the Jubilarians and their families. Happy Anniversary!

Holy Family
Frank and Rose Steinmetz, Bill and Pat Wewers, Bob and Jeanette Borusheski, Dick and Cathy Cunneen, Bill and Marie Auffert, Joseph and Janice Fejfar, John and Charlene Koch, Ron and Carol Lacey, Russell and Marsha Hinchee

St. Gregory Barbarigo – Maryville
Dan and Ann Pfeifer, Gerald and Rose Ann Meyer, Pat and Carolyn Sturm, Lynn and Nancy Rickabaugh

Immaculate Conception, Montrose
Robert and Susan Rotert, James and Claudia Higgins, James and Karen Munsterman

Sacred Heart – Warrensburg
George and Joyce Michael, James and Eleanor O’Malley, Joseph and Patricia Ashman

Church of the Good Shepherd – Smithville
James and Pamela Castor, Dale and Patricia Gerschutz

St. Sabina – Belton
Gene and Viola Krein, Gene and Ana McEwen, Jeff and Sandy Spiller, Charles and Melba Mercier

St. Gabriel Archangel
Robert and Perla Armstrong, Bill and Kathy Enochs, Norman and Edith Van Booven, Richard and Phyllis Stevens

Twelve Apostles – Weston
Paul and Jane Banks, Gregory and Rhonda Schneringer, Larry and Kathy VonTersch

St. James, St. Joseph
John and Patricia Hart. Bill and Veronica Werner. D. Michael and Sharon Lynch

Immaculate Conception, Richmond
Robert and Helen Pigg. Otis and Pam Williams

St. Robert Bellarmine – Blue Springs
Joseph and Antoinette Heater

St. Mary – Independence
Tony and Kristy Douglas

St. Monica
Everett and Angela Curry, Deacon Darwin and Donna Dupree, Ronald and Pamela Green, Robert and Theresa Rutherford, Kirk and Shirley Thaw

St. Francis Xavier, St. Joseph
Herman Lloyd and Ernestine Elrod, Len and Jeanne Archer, Glen and Victoria Rohwer

St. Andrew the Apostle
Tommy and Patricia Rizzo

Guardian Angels
Rodolfo and Marie Martinez

St. Bridget
Lawrence and Eileen Henke, Bob and Shirley Baldwin

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Independence
Joe and Nancy Ragusa, Tom and Helen Przybylski

Holy Rosary – Kansas City
Jerry and Geraldine Sirna

Holy Rosary, Clinton
Don and Jeanette Rotert

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Robert and Noni Burdiss

Church of the Annunciation
Larry and Virginia Pratt

St. Elizabeth
Rodd and Martha Staker

Holy Spirit, Lee’s Summit
Dave and Becky Eder, Jerry and Bonnie Peterman, Mike and Mary Kay Ryan

Church of the Holy Martyrs
Joseph Tuan Anh Pham and Teresa Canh Thi Nguyen

Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
George and Janet Downing

St. Therese, North
Neofito and Leticia Rabang, Frank and Carmen Ellis, Marty and Ann Wessinger, Joe and Pam McClean, John and Susan Morley, Lloyd and Suzanne Grisham

St. Margaret of Scotland – Lee’s Summit
Thomas and Lexie Terrono, Robert and Joan Schmitt, Stephen and Peggy Pack, Albert and Dianna Miller, Ambrose and Theresa Massman, Dale and Linda Holden, Roger and Carol Green, Robert and Mary Bonack, Larry and Silvia Boyd

St. Francis Xavier, Kansas City
John and Mary Gwilt

St. Ann, Independence
Ron and June Thomas

St. Joseph, Parnell
Bill and Bernice Stephenson, Victor and Mary Lee Meyer, Donald and Kathleen McCray

Our Lady of the Presentation – Lee’s Summit
William and Julia Beckley, Hermie and Lety Catanoan, Robert and Patricia Farrell, William and Doris Frede, James and Patricia Gentner, Michael and Peggy Peterson, John and Mary Scheuer, John and Carol Ulett

St. Charles Borromeo
Joan and Robert Henson, Paul and Mary Ann Seibold, Edward and Patricia Reyes

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Carl and Ginny Obersteadt, Gary and Jean Griffith, Harvey and Vicky Roseberry

St. James, Liberty
Charles and Joyce Pecora, Eddie and Rachel Anslemo, Edward and Mary Weixeldorfer, Ronald and Joan Gibbs, Larry and Judy Hixson, Richard and Velda Conard, Al and Cathie Habiger, Ray and Janice Schroering, Frank and Pat Vertovec

St. John LaLande – Blue Springs
John and Mary Farrell, Gerald and Sharon Cygan, Chris and Ruth Hagedorn, Don and Phyllis Prososki, John and Paula South, Robert and Geraldine Passanisi, Robert and Geraldine Bates, Steve and Blanch Kwasiborski, Bruce and Amy Storts

St. Thomas More
Tom and Sharon McCullough, Peter and Janice Clune, Michael and Kathleen Peppard, Jerry and Mary Ellen Anselmo, Robert and Nancy Hess, Dr. Mahesh and Ingrid Chandra, George and Hope Ruprecht, David and Jeanne Hokanson, Keith and Bonnie Connell, Craig and Mary Ann Cummings, Howie and Carol Gretencord, Jim and Gwen Brooks, Norman and Linda Hageman, Theofial and Charlene Langner, Michael and Michele Rhoades, Steve and Hope Ruprecht

Thomas and Teresa Cotton, Robert and Kathleen Steed, Jack and Becky Selzer, John and Mary Becker

St. Mary, St. Joseph
Thomas and Virginia Rinderknecht

Coronation of Our Lady
Joseph and Clairee Banks


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October 23, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph