Couples young and old come together to celebrate marriage Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
wedding celebration

Margie Blau and her husband Conrad bring up the gifts to Fr. Tait Schroeder during a Mass celebrating couples in the Diocese of Madison married more than 50 years and couples celebrating three years of marriage or less. The Mass took place at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Monona. Also bringing up the gifts were Rebecca and Chris Reitz with their 10-month-old daughter Elizabeth and Jessica and Dominick Meyer.

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MONONA -- A Sunday afternoon Mass, Aug. 16, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Monona, was part of the annual Diocese of Madison Celebration of Wedding Anniversaries.

It was more than appropriate to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage with a Mass.

In the Mass, Jesus gives his very self in the Eucharist “so we can live forever,” Fr. Tait Schroeder, judicial vicar for the Diocese of Madison, said in his homily.

He continued, “Jesus’ gift to us in the Eucharist is mirrored, or is an image of what husbands and wives do because they give their very flesh to one another. They give their bodies to one another . . . so that they can experience and share life and joy and happiness.”

Father Schroeder celebrated the Mass in place of Bishop Robert C. Morlino, who was ill.

The celebration was open to more couples this year than in years past, with the diocese inviting those who are married three years or less, along with those who are married 50 years and beyond.

Range of married couples

“It’s an honor to be here,” said Florence Caglo. She and her husband Walter, members of St. Joseph Parish in Fort Atkinson, were the longest married couple at the Mass, married 74 years.

The couple said they were married shortly before the breakout of World War II and then went about five years without seeing each other, as Walter went off to fight.

Like Helen Forrest sang in the postwar hit, Walter said he and Florence have been married a “long, long time” and raised a good family.

They call their family their “success in life.”

On the other end of the matrimonial spectrum, Jessica and Dominick Meyer, members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison, have been married nine months and are expecting their first child in November.

“It’s beautiful to see all these witnesses,” said Dominick, looking over the large number of couples already seated and entering the church.

Jessica added they were hoping to learn some words of wisdom from the couples more experienced in marriage than they and called the sight of so many of them “awesome.”

Celebration Mass

As Mass began, Father Schroeder welcomed everyone and extended his congratulations to all the couples on behalf of Bishop Morlino.

Father Schroeder called the afternoon a “great celebration of God’s love lived out in so many of your lives . . . what a beautiful sign of God’s grace and God’s blessing upon you and your families.”

Felix Ring, along with his wife of 69 years, Millie, members of St. Luke Parish in Plain, echoed those words, calling marriage a “lifetime commitment.”

Felix added an important part of their marriage was “learning to pray together.”

Rebecca and Chris Reitz, married for 18 months and members of St. Joseph Parish in Baraboo, are already examples of that lifetime commitment, attending the Mass with their 10-month-old daughter Elizabeth.

Rebecca called it a “good witness of commitment” to see all the combined years of marriage under one roof and the potential to learn from the older couples.

Chris enjoyed the feeling of “being in communion with so many married couples.”

During his homily, Father Schroeder welcomed the younger couples and said of the older couples, “They give example and they’re here to support you, as you begin your married lives, with their prayers and with their sacrifices . . . and what a gift you can give to new married couples by praying for them.”

The generations meet

Following the Mass, at a reception in the parish’s Marian Hall, the younger couples shared cake, punch, and coffee with the older couples and discussed marriage and family in all stages.

Imelda Northouse, along with her husband of 69 years Jack, members of Queen of All Saints Parish in Fennimore, said they were “proud” to be at the celebration.

They remarked they were “always together” through almost seven decades of marriage and said they “never fought,” said with a wink and a smile.

All of the couples at the celebration received a certificate of congratulation from Bishop Morlino.

Couples also received a glossy booklet, filled with pictures, stories, and advice for a successful marriage.

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