From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy and Archbishop Wilton Gregory:
This past weekend, on Saturday, October 5th, Archbishop Gregory celebrated a special Mass at Saint Brigid honoring those couples in the Archdiocese celebrating the 50th or 60th anniversary of their marriages. We thank the Archbishop for gracing our church with his presence.
The following are excerpts from a column recently written by the Archbishop concerning this wonderful vocation of marriage:
Since becoming the Archbishop, I have established the tradition of bringing together the couples in our diocese observing their 50th or 60th wedding jubilees for a celebration of that blessed event during the fall. Remarkable moments deserve a special pause to praise God for His goodness and to celebrate the accomplishments of people’s fidelity to the promises made in their youth and then lived faithfully over a lifetime.
It is increasingly important to hold up those folks who have lived their vocational commitments – certainly not without mistakes, challenges, and failures – but with fidelity and steadfastness. We all know many wonderful people whose marriages or religious promises have not endured. And we love them nonetheless. However, in our society we also must hold up examples of people who have succeeded in fulfilling their commitments. The message that society too often promotes is that if something breaks or is difficult or perhaps simply changes, then we can abandon it for something else.
This message is a way of life that our youngsters absorb in countless ways. Today many products are actually manufactured with obsolescence in mind. Computers, telephones, even automobiles are intended to last only a few years. How often have we discovered that it is cheaper to replace a product than to try to fix it – if replacement parts are actually even available? Those messages do not go unheeded by our young people. For too many of our youngsters, human relationships are just as temporary in nature as are the products that they jettison without compunction.
We need to hold up examples of fidelity for today’s youth to consider not as bizarre or strange or odd, but as the way that God’s love for us endures throughout all of our lives. Marriage and religious vows are relationships that are intended to mirror and witness to God’s perfect fidelity and enduring love.
May all who live their vocational promises find the grace to be faithful and courageous as they provide a splendid counter-statement to the values that our society promotes and offers to our world.