by Bob Reddy (Editor, Florida Catholic)
The love on display was impressive, the 800-plus couples present for the two Masses represented more than 39,000 years of wedded bliss. The two Masses honored couples celebrating their 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 50+ years of marriage. Every parish in the Diocese of Venice had at least one couple attend one of the Masses.
Bishop Dewane took time out to specifically recognize couples who were married the longest. That distinction went to Albert and Angela Cassettari of Epiphany Cathedral who have been married 74 years. The couple was given a standing ovation by other couples and admirers at Epiphany Cathedral. There were 13 other couples recognized at the two Masses who were married, 72, 71 and 70 years, respectively. Another 161 couples were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. The two Masses also fell on the anniversary date of 9 couples.
In a world where divorce is common, Bishop Dewane said those honored at the Masses have contradicted that modern trend and have therefore been graced by their commitment to each other.
â€śLove is stronger when expressed in different ways,â€ť he continued. â€śYou never let the fire go out. That fire is a grace given through your sacramental commitment to each other. Strive to keep the flame of God alive in your lives and be the light for others.â€ť
Bishop Dewane asked that each couple share their story to other couples and younger people. â€śGive your words of wisdom and offer advice on what it takes to endure and teach them about the importance of the true commitment in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.â€ť
At each Mass Bishop Dewane was joined by priests from many parishes in each part of the Diocese.
Patricia and Richard Rimay have been married 53 years and said they built a lasting marriage based on love, trust, understanding and a belief that God will help get them through difficult times. â€śYou have to have all of that,â€ť Patricia Rimay said. â€śWhen you get married you do it for love, but you have to grow into it and learn that not everything is going to be perfect. When you add up the years, you realize that love does account for a lot, but you need the rest, with a foundation of your faith to make it wonderful.â€ť