September 23, 2011

‘Doing better tomorrow’ is cornerstone of marriage, Bishop Coyne tells golden anniversary jubilarians

Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ parishioners Leona and James Schuler of Indianapolis accept a gift from Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary bishop and vicar general, during the 28th annual archdiocesan Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration liturgy on Sept. 18 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. The Schulers have been married for 69 years, and were the longest married couple attending the Mass. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ parishioners Leona and James Schuler of Indianapolis accept a gift from Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary bishop and vicar general, during the 28th annual archdiocesan Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration liturgy on Sept. 18 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. The Schulers have been married for 69 years, and were the longest married couple attending the Mass. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

By Mary Ann Garber

Recalling a favorite story, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne told the archdiocesan Golden Jubilee Mass couples on Sept. 18 that an elderly Italian woman in Medfield, Mass., once shared the secret of her 65-year marriage.

“She said, ‘Every day, I think he’ll do better,’ ” Bishop Coyne recalled in his homily for the archdiocese’s 28th annual Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration liturgy at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

“All you jubilarians, I want you to look at each other and say to each other, ‘You’ll do better tomorrow,’ ” the auxiliary bishop and vicar general told them.

The longtime married couples responded with delighted laughter and knowing looks at their spouses.

It was a fun moment during a joyous eucharistic liturgy that honored 121 married couples from parishes in central and southern Indiana who represented 6,447 years of marriage.

“Isn’t that faith?” Bishop Coyne asked the smiling couples.

It’s important for spouses to tell each other that “ ‘I believe you’re going to do better tomorrow,’ ” he said, and “ ‘I have faith in you. I have faith in you because we have pledged our love together, we have committed ourselves to live together, and we have done so in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and we do so until death do us part.’

“When a man and a woman commit themselves to that kind of love, God blesses them,” Bishop Coyne explained, and they become a witness to others that “God’s love is eternal, God’s love is unconditional and God’s love is creative.

“In your daily love for each other, in your married love for each other, you not only show us what God’s love is like,” he said, “… you bring more of God into a world that needs him, into a world that needs that hope, that strength, that passion of God’s love.”

The jubilarians present for the liturgy have 502 children, 1,028 grandchildren, 258 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Bishop Coyne represented Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein as the principal celebrant and homilist at the liturgy, and presented gifts to 20 couples married 60 or more years.

Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ parishioners James and Leona Schuler of Indianapolis, who have been married for 69 years, were the longest married couple attending the Mass, which was sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Family Ministries.

“I told the bishop that the Lord has helped us,” Leona Schuler explained after the liturgy. “Through his help, we stayed married.”

She recommends that young married couples find ways to talk about their differences and resolve them.

“Always agree with one another,” she said, “and don’t forget to say ‘I love you’ when you go to bed. And try harder tomorrow!”

The Schulers were married in 1942 at the start of America’s involvement in World War II and shortly before he was deployed overseas with the U.S. Army.

“I served in Africa and then in Sicily and then in Italy from 1942 to 1946,” James Schuler explained. “I was a sergeant. I thought we’d never get back home.”

Their oldest child was born while he was serving in the Army.

Times were tough for newly married couples then, he said, but “we just loved one another and worked hard” all the years of their marriage.

“Always be true to one another,” Leona Schuler said. “I always prayed for him and always went to church. We wrote a letter every day” while he was overseas.

“There were some tough times over the years,” she said, “but we always took care of one another and worked together. We still love each other and help take care of each other.”

Three longtime married couples who attended the Mass, the Grannans, are related.

St. Lawrence parishioners Elbert and Mildred Grannan of Indianapolis have been married for 66 years.

Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ parishioners James and Jeanette Grannan of Indianapolis have been married for 54 years.

St. Gabriel the Archangel parishioners Raymond and Tina Grannan of Indianapolis have been married for 50 years.

Another brother, Anthony Grannan, and his wife, Julianne, have been married for 54 years, and are members of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood. They were not able to attend the Mass.

“A sense of humor helps in marriage,” Elbert Grannan explained after the liturgy. “We laugh together a lot, and do a lot of entertaining and different activities. We try to keep busy.”

“Don’t argue,” Mildred Grannan advised young married couples. “Just talk it out.”

Jeanette Grannan said the brothers and their wives “are a very family-oriented family and do lots of social activities together.”

Her advice to younger couples is to “keep praying.”

Marriage requires “give and take” every day, Raymond Grannan explained. “You’ve got to hang in there.”

His wife, Tina, said she appreciated Bishop Coyne’s homily.

“He recognized that we’re a living sacrament,” she said, “and that every day we are attempting to live what the sacrament says as a witness to God’s love. … If we didn’t have Jesus in the middle of our marriages, we would not all be here today.” †

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