Archbishop Gregory Honors More than 600 Couples Celebrating Milestone Wedding Anniversaries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory honored more than 600 married couples at a special Mass on Sunday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Each year, the archdiocese hosts a special Mass for couples celebrating wedding anniversaries ranging from 25 to 75 years.

Representing parishes from across the Archdiocese of Washington, 620 couples registered through their respective parishes to have their milestone anniversaries recognized, totaling more than 28,215 years of marriage. While not all the couples were able to attend the Mass, the basilica was filled with over 400 couples, along with their families and friends. Of those in attendance, approximately 320 couples were celebrating 50 or more years of marriage.

“Today, we celebrate the gift of love – married love for sure, but also divine love on this solemn feast of the Most Holy Trinity, and lest we forget – today we also mark a Father’s love in the secular calendar’s recollection of Fathers’ Day,” Archbishop Gregory said as he began his homily. “Each expression of love is important and yet each quite distinct.”

The archbishop spoke of the mystery of the Holy Trinity and how God invites us into his inner life, a life of pure love and perfect community.

“For all of our Jubilarian couples, it has been the discovery of those different dimensions and facets of love that has both strengthened them and amazed them,” he said. “All of those extra-ingredients that they perhaps never imagined to be present in the gift of love have allowed them to understand better the divine characteristic of love itself – for indeed God is Love.”

The love of the Jubilarian couples as revealed in their sacrifice, their willingness to forgive, their sense of humor, and their stamina is an example to the world of what a holy marriage can be, he said.

“We need to know and the world has so frequently forgotten what it takes to live a committed and faithful loving marriage,” he said. “We have forgotten too often that the ingredients of love are often not glamorous or well-known but vital nonetheless.”

“How grateful we are to all of our anniversary couples for being willing to pay careful attention to all of the ingredients that it has taken to be faithful to one another in Christ,” Archbishop Gregory said as he concluded. “May the Lord who has begun a good work in you bring it to fulfillment.”

After the homily, the couples renewed their wedding vows, and after the conclusion of Mass, the archbishop took time to greet the couples and took photographs with them.