Married couples celebrated in diocesan Anniversary Mass
“It’s been a good time, but there’s always those bumps in the road.”
Those were the words of Stella Kline, who marks 50 years of marriage this year to her husband, Paul. They were just one of dozens of couples invited to celebrate a special Wedding Anniversary Mass held Sunday, Oct. 23 inside St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.
The event was coordinated by the Diocese of Buffalo’s Office of Pastoral Ministries, which accepted nominations by parishes and individuals earlier this year. The longevity of marriages celebrated on this occasion ranged from 20 years to 76 years.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher presided over the Mass, and led the couples in a renewal of their vows. During that moment couples in attendance stood up and faced each other, joined hands, and responded to the bishop’s prompts.
Prior to that, in his homily, the bishop recalled a conversation he often has with newer couples. As he explained, he’ll ask them if they feel their romance will ever wane, to which they’ll say no. He then stated that he tells those couples that the romance should wane, so that the fairytale feelings give way to something deeper and permanent.
“You go through stories of your life and your relationship. The struggles, the pains, the sufferings and joys, and a selflessness that has sought the well-being of your spouse and your family. Your marriage has endured because you can see it is a part of something much bigger than yourselves,” Bishop Fisher said. “You have come to see your marriage is something of a mystery. You have come to see your marriage is the mystery of God’s love woven into creation, embraced in your lives, and lived in your relationship with each other, as you become one with each other, and one with God.”
Bishop Fisher also credits married couples as examples to follow for those entering the priesthood. During his homily, he explained that priesthood and marriage are both vocations which cannot be broken. The married couples present, in his words, are examples that fidelity to such vocations is not only possible, but worth the effort. The bishop added that God is the author of marriage, pointing out that as far back as into the Book of Genesis, marriage is established to be a permanent life-living and fundamental cell of society.
“There might have been times when the challenges seemed overwhelming. You didn’t run from them. You kept your commitments. You put your trust in the truth of God,” he said. “And that is what joins you together, that which joins you together and no man must separate.”
He noted this as he addressed a trend in modern society of fewer young couples choosing to marry.
“Many young people are opting to co-habitate without marriage. They question if it is even possible to make a definitive decision to marry, to love just one person forever,” the bishop said. “They seem to be afraid of making a definitive choice, a life decision of handing over in trust their future to another person. We live in a culture of the temporary, of the provisional. As Christians, however, we seek something that is more permanent and lasting.”
So how have the Klines, members of Fourteen Holy Helpers Parish in West Seneca, been able to deepen their relationship over the years?
“I think with the children, with them growing up with us, and being parents, that made us grow closer together,” Stella Kline replied.
Added her husband, “When you become empty nesters, you kind of start a new life all over again. You always worry about your kids, no matter how old they are. You always want to be there for them, but it becomes a different life after they leave.”
Their advice to younger couples is “be patient, and loving.”
Following the Mass, couples were invited to have their photo taken with Bishop Fisher inside the Our Lady Chapel, located behind the sanctuary. Families were also encouraged to take their own photos inside the cathedral. A reception followed nearby inside the Mother Cabrini Social Center Hall at St. Anthony of Padua Church.