At the 4:30 Mass on Saturday afternoon, I had a great seat.  We celebrated First Eucharist at all of the Masses, where 67 of our parish children received their First Holy Communion.  The celebrations were beautiful, and the weekend matched. 

But at the 4:30 Mass, I not only was caught up in the excitement of the First Communicants, but was also captivated by the older couple sitting two pews in front of me — Bill and Pat Wutke.  Bill and Pat have been parishioners here for a long time — since 1965, if our records are correct.  At the very end of Mass, we celebrated with them their 50th wedding anniversary.

I found tears welling up in my eyes as I watched them stand in front of the community.  50 years later, they know and have lived the very vows they spoke to each other so many years ago:  to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. 

When I was married nearly 10 years ago, I’m not sure I really understood what I was vowing at the time.  Actually, I’m pretty sure I didn’t.  I thought I did, but marriage has taught me so much more about what living those vows means.  So when I watched Bill and Pat stand before us at Mass, they reminded me how very beautiful marriage is, and how through it, God shares his holiness with us, so that we, in turn, might share our holiness with others.

Happy Anniversary, Bill and Pat!  Thanks for allowing us to be part of your special day!  And for all of our other couples who have lived these vows — in good times and in bad — thanks for being witnesses of holiness.  You inspire me!

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