Couples ‘reframe’ their lives over 50 years of marriage

Anne Marie Amacher
Bob and Marilyn Clark of St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville, renew their commitment to each other at the 50+ wedding anniversary Mass Oct. 27 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Around 45 couples renewed their commitment to each other at the 50+ wedding anniversary Mass Oct. 27 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Bishop Thomas Zinkula celebrated the Mass. In his homily he noted that paintings are nice, but the right frame makes a huge difference. “Love of a man and woman is very nice, but placing it in the frame of sacramental marriage makes a huge difference. Sacramental marriage makes a couple’s love stand out. It sets it off. Draws our attention to it. Draws us into it. Draws God into it. Highlights the beauty of the couple.”

He told the couples that when they entered the sacrament 50 or more years ago, “you defined your love as sacred, holy and unconditional…. You said you were willing to lay down your life for one another in imitation of Jesus laying down his life for us. As we heard in the Gospel passage, there is not greater love than that.”

Over the years, “photos of your marriage have been reframed a number of times,” Bishop Zinkula said. There were new frames for children, empty nesters, serious relationship issues, serious health issues, death of a child or a retirement. “When you were married 25 years, your marriage was reframed in silver. And after 50 years it was reframed in gold.”

In Pope Francis’ “The Joy of Love” he wrote that in family, three phrases need to be used: please (or may I), thank you and sorry. “That is the frame that the Holy Father puts around marriage and family,” bishop said.

Referring to St. Paul‘s letter to the Colossians, Bishop Zinkula said St. Paul speaks to the please/may I as emphasizing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. To sorry, St. Paul says to bear one another and forgive one another. Thank you means having a heart full of gratitude to God.

“The more we reframe our lives and our marriages by striving to follow Paul’s advice, the more we will experience joy of heart and the more our joy will be complete. The more we will experience peace abiding in us. The more we will love one another and remain in Jesus’ heart. And finally, the more we will bear fruit that endures.”

Following Mass, a reception followed in the great hall. As couples prepared to enter the hall, Bishop Zinkula greeted them.

Bob and Marilyn Clark were married Sept. 13, 1969, at St. Patrick Church in Burlington. They currently attend St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville. Marilyn said they received an invitation to the Mass and wanted to attend.

When asked what advice they can give to younger couples on keeping a marriage together, Bob said, “You just do it.” Marilyn said not to “go to bed mad” and to work through any challenges.

Don and Agnes Burns were married Oct. 4, 1969, at St. Mary Church in Manchester, Iowa. They currently attend Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport.

Agnes said when the invitation came, she believed attending the Mass was something they needed to do.Offering advice to other couples, Don said to learn to forgive. Agnes said to love each other and care for each other.

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