By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF — Around 40 couples from throughout the Diocese of Davenport participated in a renewal of vows during a 50th wedding anniversary Mass Oct. 14 at St. John Vianney Church.
Bishop Martin Amos opened the celebration with a blessing and sprinkling of holy water.
During his homily, Bishop Amos told the anniversary couples and their families about an event at an airport. He saw a boy with his mom getting onto the escalator. She said to him, “I’ll hold buddy’s hand.” The bishop thought that was strange since the mom was already holding the boy’s hand. “As I looked, I realized buddy was this little, dirty stuffed animal that his mom was holding in her other hand, along with the luggage she was pulling,” he said.
That reminded the bishop of a little dirty stuffed bear he had when he was little named Bosco. This led the bishop to think of the book by Margery Williams titled “The Velveteen Rabbit.”
The bishop read passages from the book.
The bishop then asked people to think back on the first time they met, the first date, back to when they knew he/she was the one. “Think back to all the favors of the Lord.
“And, yes, after 50 years of being loved, really loved, perhaps your whiskers have been loved off and the pink lining of your ears has turned gray. And if you don’t believe the old skin horse, just look at your wedding pictures.”
He pointed out that the couples have been together for 50 years because “you put on, as St. Paul says, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience. Perhaps not always, perhaps not always as well as you should have. You have endured each other and forgiven each other. And you have put on love, the bond of perfection. You have become real and not just to each other, but also to your children and your close friends and family.”
Eventually, the bishop said, the boy from the story gets scarlet fever and the Velveteen Rabbit has to be thrown out. “In the fairy tale story the Velveteen Rabbit is turned into a real rabbit — he becomes really real. In the real story, the Prophet Isaiah said: They are indeed my people . . . so he became their savior . . . because of his love and pity he himself redeemed them, lifting them and carrying all the days of old.
“As real as this life seems St. Paul tells us: There is a certain wisdom which we express among the spiritually mature . . . Of this wisdom it is written: Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.”
The renewal of marriage vows and blessings took place after the homily.
Judy and Carlie Seamer of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April. When they had heard of the Mass they thought it was a great event for the diocese to hold and felt the Mass was a “very nice.”
Jerry and Marcy Wickersham were married on St. Patrick’s Day. The members of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport said they thought the Mass was neat. It allowed their children and friends to join them for the special event.