By Berta Mexidor and Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Eighty-two couples marked World Marriage Day by celebrating more than 3,500 years of marriage on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. The number of couples attending doubled from last year. The majority of those are celebrating either 50 or 25 years of marriage. Ten couples honored are celebrating 60 years of marriage.
Charlene Bearden, coordinator for the Office of Family Ministry, organizes the celebration of World Marriage Day for the Diocese of Jackson. Each couple celebrating a significant anniversary receives a certificate and a blessing from Bishop Joseph Kopacz. “I think it shows that faith out there is solid – it’s strong and people want to celebrate that,” said Bearden.
World Marriage day is a global event to honor the sacrament of marriage and recognize those who are called to the vocation. In the homily Bishop Kopacz talked about the reading of loving your enemies. He remarked, teasingly, that it was not intentional for the occasion, but it is a good lesson about the magnitude of love. Bishop Kopacz blessed the commitment and example of the couples and asked them to renew their vows with a kiss. After the Mass and blessing, all the couples were invited to the cathedral center for a reception.
Margaret and John McAllese of Flowood St. Paul Parish are celebrating 65 years of marriage with their two children and three grandchildren. “Always get rid of the problem you had before you go to bed. No fighting going to bed – get rid of it,” said John. He and his wife also like to laugh together.
Rosa and Dan Buzzarde came down from Grenada to be honored for their 25-years of marriage. It may seem like a long time, but Dan feels differently. “I looked up one day from my job and lightning slapped me in the face and it was her and I haven’t gotten over it yet,” he said. Rosa said she would tell young couples that marriage takes “lots of patience, lots of love and lots of understanding.”
Carmen and Isidro Vieyra from Jackson St. Therese celebrated 25 years of marriage. They believe that God is always helping them on the trip. Carmen said “God gives patience and love to understand.” Their daughter, Cyntia Vieyra and her fiance Gustavo García, after six years of dating, will follow their parents’ example and take the vows next May.They want to have “all the children with whom God blesses them” both said at the same time.
30-year couple Cassandra and Tracy Hansbrough from Greenwood St. Francis urge young people to put work into a relationship before marriage. “They should weigh their options and get to know one another before they get married and realize that marriage is a partnership and compromise is very important,” Cassandra explained.
Forgiveness and mercy play a role in Yvonne and Robert Tanner’s 35-year marriage. “You need to still love every day. Every day is a new beginning and when you approach it that way then those days start adding to years and more,” said Robert. His wife added, “Keep God first in prayer and I think everything else will work out.”
More pictures coming soon!