Over 250 couples from over 60 parishes from the Diocese of St. Petersburg celebrating 25, 50 or more years of marriage participated in the Marriage Jubilee Mass on Feb. 11 at the Cathedral of St Jude the Apostle. One couple was celebrating 75 years of marriage.
“You were here last year, right?” said Bishop Parkes to the couple who had been married the most number of years. “See, the blessing worked,” he said with humor.
(To view photos from Marriage Jubilee Mass, click on the image below.)
Bishop Parkes thanked the couples for being such wonderful witnesses to our community and our world.
“You stand here as witnesses that marriage when lived as a sacrament, is what God intended it be, which is a communion of man and woman, husband and wife, who come together not because of what each individual will get out of marriage, but to form a union for the good of each other. It is in living that sacrifice that you imitate the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ made for each of us,” he said.
He acknowledged that married couples can experience difficulties but he stressed that with God’s help they can overcome those difficulties.
“Marriage is not easy. It does present its own challenges, difficulties, and struggles as life presents difficulties and struggles. That’s where the love of God and the grace of God must be present within that union of husband and wife. God’s love and grace are there for each one of us. That’s why we gather here today. To celebrate your love for one another and to celebrate your witness to the world of what it means to be in a communion of life and love for all your life.”
During the Mass, Couples renewed their commitment through this prayer:
“Blessed are you, Lord,
for in the good and the bad times of our life
you have stood lovingly by our side.
Help us, we pray,
to remain faithful in our love for one another
so that we may be true witnesses
to the covenant you have made with humankind.”
During his homily, Bishop Parkes quoted Pope Francis in his document, Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love) #56:
“Christian marriage is a sign of how much Christ loved his Church in the covenant sealed on the cross, yet it also makes that love present in the communion of the spouses. By becoming one flesh, they embody the espousal of our human nature by the Son of God. … Even though the analogy between the human couple of husband and wife, and that of Christ and his Church, is ‘imperfect’, it inspires us to beg the Lord to bestow on every married couple an outpouring of his divine love.”
Before the Mass, four couples offered some marriage advice. Watch and hear the wisdom they shared below.