By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
Giving thanks for their “faithful witness of married love,” Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz led about 300 people in the renewal of their marriage vows at the Cathedral of the Assumption Nov. 2.
The Archdiocese of Louisville’s annual Wedding Anniversary Mass, which drew a standing-room only crowd, honored 151 couples celebrating 30, 40, 50 and 60-plus years of marriage. The couples participating in the Mass had a combined 7,300 years of marriage.
Among them were St. Paul Church parishioners Agnes and James Macpherson, the longest-married couple at the Mass, who are marking their 73rd anniversary this year. Two other couples marked 70 years of marriage — Dorothy and Lawrence Ladegast of St. Patrick Church and Ken and Libby Bruce of the Cathedral of the Assumption.
The secret to a loving marriage, the archbishop said during his homily, lies in the beatitudes — “What it means to be humble, what it means to forgive, to stand up and fall down and begin again, to depend on God’s grace in our lives.”
“We need your example,” he told the couples. “It’s not easy to have sacrificial love.”
He noted that on the anniversary of his ordination each year — he’s been a priest for 42 years — “I think back to what were my hopes and dreams?”
“A lot of things happened that I never would have dreamt. And thank God,” he said. “I hope as you think back to your marriage day, and to the joys and disappointments through the years, that you also have a way of saying, ‘Thank God, thank God Jesus Christ was in our marriage.’ ”
The archbishop pointed out that things don’t always go well in a marriage, but the faithful have hope to sustain them.
“Hope says — in good times and in bad — are those words familiar? In good times and in bad, God will be with us in Christ Jesus and we will be faithful to each other,” he told the couples.
Archbishop Kurtz also noted during his homily that he had recently returned from Rome where he attended the Synod of Bishops on the family. He urged participants to “go deeper than the headlines” and learn more about the synod. “Become students and try to understand it.”
He said there are three things that he “brought back” from the meeting.
First, he said, is “the beauty of the teachings of Jesus that have been faithfully conveyed over the centuries for 2,000 years.”
They’ve been conveyed, he said, not just by the magisterium, but by parents and grandparents who pass the faith on to their children.
Secondly, he said, “There are a lot of families who are struggling and Christ calls us to accompany them.”
“All of us are called to reach out and to accompany people who are struggling, to accept them where they are and to lead them — because all of us need conversion, don’t we? To lead them as we convert ourselves to Christ and his teaching, to lead them closer to Christ.”
Finally, he said, “The third thing — and you all are examples of it: Boy, do we need living witnesses of good married love. We cannot take our light and put it under a bushel basket. We cannot hide the great example of faithful love that our nation, our world and of course our church depends upon.”
He added, “The church today says, ‘Thank you.’ ”
The annual Wedding Anniversary Mas is sponsored by the archdiocese’s Family Ministries Office, one of the 100 services and agencies supported by the Catholic Services Appeal.