More than 580 couples celebrate their long marriages by renewing their vows

June 03, 2010

What is the secret to a happy marriage? Find the answer out this Sunday when more than 580 couples who are celebrating 25, 40, even 68 years of marriage will say “I do” all over again at a Mass celebrated by Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl:

Sunday, June 6, 2010
3:00 p.m. Mass (Renewal of vows follows the homily)
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

Among those celebrating special anniversaries:

Thomas Spalding first met his wife when he was just 7 years old. Summers spent playing together as children in Medley’s Neck in Southern Maryland eventually led to a 60-year marriage that started when Thomas was 23 years old and Rose was 18. A deacon at Our Lady’s Church for the past 20 years, Thomas said he recalls “a beautiful life” with his wife that includes nine children, 18 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. “It’s been so wonderful, I just wonder where else you can go from here?” he said.

The five Warner brothers, who grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and their spouses have logged a total of 248 years of marriage as of this year. Two of the siblings will renew their vows at Sunday’s Mass. Dave and Pat met when Dave was in the Army; they wrote letters to each other for two years before marrying 55 years ago. Chris and Judy (40 years) met when she came to Washington to visit friends; she moved to the area within a few months and the couple married the next year. Both couples live in Rockville. A third brother (Dennis, 50 years married to Mary Lou) lives in Chevy Chase while the other two brothers and their spouses live out of the area. When asked about the secret to a happy marriage, Chris said, “I was raised if you make a commitment you stay with it.”

The 584 couples expected to attend the Mass have been married from 25 to 68 years, with 254 couples married for 50 or more years. More than 850 couples registered their long marriages (25, 30, 35, 40, 45 or 50+ years) with the archdiocese, but not all are able to attend. The couples are from Washington, DC and suburban and southern Maryland Catholic parishes.

In addition to renewing their vows and receiving a special blessing during Mass, all couples will receive personalized certificates commemorating their special anniversary following Mass.

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