Cardinal Wuerl Honors More than 850 Couples Celebrating Milestone Wedding Anniversaries

“This is a celebration of enduring human love, transformed by the power of God’s grace.”

June 16, 2013

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington celebrated a special Mass today at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for about 600 couples who were celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 or more years of wedded life. Representing parishes from across the archdiocese, more than 850 couples registered to have their milestone anniversaries recognized by the archdiocese this year, totaling 39,417 years of marriage. The marriages range from 25 to 74 years, with 440 couples married for 50 or more years. Eleven couples have been married for 70 or more years.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl spoke of the goal of the New Evangelization in this Year of Faith being to help others rediscover the beauty of the Catholic faith. “Each one of us can do something positive to manifest the kingdom of Christ – to make it visible and present in the world today. Each one of us can take on some aspect of spreading the kingdom of God, of bearing witness to what Jesus came to reveal. Some can teach. Some can give example. All of us can live the Christian message,” he said.

The Cardinal shared stories he hears from married couples on the vocation of marriage, and the many forms that love takes. “… [Some couples say it is] as simple as remembering to say, ‘I love you.’ Another couple reminded me, we must ‘always forgive.’ Another couple told me they never go to bed without first saying a prayer together.” Catechizing on marriage, Cardinal Wuerl said that love stands firm even when we fail, and in order to make this happen, Jesus raised marriage to the level of a sacrament. “So valued is human love, so important is married love that Christ raised it to the capacity to actually reflect His Love for His Church and so become a means of Grace,” he said.

“In you whose jubilees we celebrate today, we recognize that power of the Spirit at work, manifested in your love for each other, the enduring quality of that love persevering in all circumstances, your task in the New Evangelization so that your lives are a testimony to the power of God’s grace at work in you.”

The couples renewed their vows and also received a special blessing during Mass. All the registered couples received personalized certificates commemorating their special anniversary following Mass.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics at 139 parishes in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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