Next Saturday, Archbishop Hartmayer will celebrate a special Mass at Saint Brigid honoring those couples in the Archdiocese of Atlanta celebrating the 50th or 60th anniversary of their marriage. The goals of a Catholic marriage are the procreation and education of children, and the mutual love of a couple, in a union that is permanent and indissoluble. These couples have committed themselves in a sacramental way to the Lord, and one another. They have strived to live up to the goals of Catholic marriage. Their love and their marriage have endured challenges and difficulties.
In our Church tradition, as previously noted, a man and woman are not only joined to each other in marriage but they are also joined to Christ. As the sign of God’s presence in the world, Christ is the foundation of their union. The couple then joins Christ as an outward sign of God’s love. They are able to open themselves to each other in love because God has first loved them. Marriage requires real openness to give and to receive. This openness requires trust in each other and trust in the Lord. In marriage, couples strive to reflect the total giving of self by Christ on the cross.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has a great appreciation for couples who have embraced the vocation of marriage. In a recent address to married couples, he encouraged them to rely on Christ. As reported by the media outlet, Catholic News Agency, he stated, “Christ dwells in your marriage and He is always waiting for you to open your hearts to Him, so that He can sustain you, as He did the disciples in the boat, by the power of His love. Our human love is weak; it needs the strength of Jesus’ faithful love. With Him, you can truly build your house on rock.”
The following “50th Wedding Anniversary Prayer” asks God to continue to bless married couples who have celebrated this anniversary:
May God, who has given you fifty years together, of his infinite goodness and mercy continue to bless you and your union.
May the Father who created you, the Son who redeems you, and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you, preserve and keep you all your days.
The Lord with His favour look upon you, and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that you may so please Him in this life, that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, and the words of Our Holy Father, and as we honor these couples, we can thank them for the endearing and steadfast love which they have experienced. They set a wonderful example for younger couples who have embraced the vocation of marriage.