By SHEILA OJENDYK
TAYLORS — Approximately 35 couples from parishes all over the Piedmont Deanery traveled to Prince of Peace Parish June 27, to celebrate their anniversaries and renew their wedding vows. This event was sponsored by the Piedmont Deanery Office of Catholic Charities and Father Chet Moczydlowski, Dean. Sister Margie Hosch, OSF, coordinator of Catholic Charities for the deanery, planned the ceremony.
Couples spanned three generations of marriage from four years to 56 years. They came for a number of reasons. Ann and Peter McCord of Blessed Trinity, married 33 years, came “to show support for marriage as an institution and for our own marriage.” Anne and Don Hyde of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton were celebrating their 12th anniversary that day and said, “It was a good way to start the day.” Betty Murphy of Prince of Peace, married to husband John for 55 years, said “We never miss anything with a blessing.”
Mass was celebrated by Father Chet and concelebrated by Father Augustus McGuire, associate pastor of St. Andrew, St. Paul and St. Francis. In his homily, Father Chet emphasized that marriage is the celebration of a man and woman’s commitment to God and to each other. He spoke about meeting and overcoming the challenges of keeping love alive. When he asked who had ever been challenged by loss of love for their spouse, everyone raised a hand.
More than 60 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, most within the first five years, Father Chet said. Another perilous time for marriage is after the children leave home. Too many people displace most of their love and energy to their children and end up losing touch with their spouse. “There is a lot of life between significant anniversaries,” Father Chet said. It is important to renew the commitment to each other every day, not just on special days. Each partner must be willing to give 100 percent of himself or herself 100 percent of the time.
Father McGuire stressed the importance of placing God first in marriage, spouse and others second, and self third.
Father Chet led renewal of wedding vows after the homily. Thirty-five couples held hands, looked into each other’s eyes and professed their love and commitment to each other as they did so many years before.
Advice the couples had to share with people getting married today included: “Talk to one another.” “Hang in there.” “God played a big part in our life.” “Learn how to disagree.” Commitment and compromise. You can’t always have your way.” “It takes three to make a marriage. You can’t make it without God.”
Pax Paxon of St. Mary’s, married to wife Dee for 56 years, said it best: “It was worth it!”