October 11, 2013

Couples share stories, memories at Jubilee Mass, reception

Ann and Joseph Wohlhieter of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis share a laugh with Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin as he gives them a gift to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary at the Golden Jubilee Mass celebrated at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Sept. 22. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Ann and Joseph Wohlhieter of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis share a laugh with Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin as he gives them a gift to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary at the Golden Jubilee Mass celebrated at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Sept. 22. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

On June 16, 1941, Holy Angels Parish in Indianapolis hosted a dance for the sailors stationed at the Indianapolis Naval Reserve Armory.

Fortunately, Robert Kern did not let the fact that he was a Marine stand in the way of dropping by the event with a few friends because that evening he met a “really good dancer” named Joanne.

Two years and three months later, Robert married Joanne on Oct. 4, 1943, on a 72-hour pass from his Marine base.

Seventy years, six children, 18 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren later, the couple from St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis gave praise for God’s blessings at the archdiocese’s 30th annual Golden Jubilee Mass for couples celebrating 50 or more years of marriage.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Sept. 22.

(Related: Purchase photo reprints from this event)

In his homily, Archbishop Tobin recalled how, as a young boy, he asked his father one day, “Why don’t I see you bring home a stack of papers at night from General Motors?” The archbishop said his father replied, “Because I married your mother. I didn’t marry General Motors.”

Archbishop Tobin spoke of marriage as being reflective of man’s relationship with God—both require “two minds and two wills in order to have [union] together in love.

“God wants us to be saved. In the sacrament of marriage, you remind each other of that, and you help each other get [to heaven].

“The deepest meaning of the sacrament of marriage,” the archbishop said, “is that two people on Earth can remind each other that their life is not meant to end here, but that it goes on in joy, perfection and peace for all eternity.”

During the Mass, 28 couples married from 60-71 years received a gift from the archdiocese. More than 155 couples in the archdiocese celebrated 50 or more years of marriage, for a combined total of 8,385 years of marriage—and memories, and stories.

During the reception at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center following the Mass, several couples had tales to tell of how they met, courted and married.

Carole and Dick Shanley of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, married for 50 years, shared the story of how they met “in a bowling alley”—through a mixed bowling league—in the spring of 1963. Within a few months, Dick proposed.

Carole told her mother about the engagement, and said they planned on having a November wedding. Her mother then gave Carole some news of her own—and the wedding was moved up to August, just eight weeks after the proposal.

“Dick called his sister to tell her we were engaged,” Carole recalled. “I could hear his half of the conversation: ‘We’re engaged, and we’re getting married in August because Carole’s mother is pregnant. … No, Carole’s mother is pregnant!’ My mother didn’t want to steal any attention from my wedding by showing up in maternity clothes!”

The way that St. Roch Parish member Michael Schloegel tells the story of how he and his wife met, one would expect maternity clothes to be part of the story.

“We met in a motel!” he said with a mischievous grin.

Diane, his wife of 51 years, rolled her eyes, but smiled in amusement.

“I was visiting my aunt and uncle in Wisconsin, and they had a 44-unit motel,” she explained. “He was my cousin’s best friend, and that’s how we met.”

The couple only dated for seven months before Michael proposed.

“It was love at first sight for me,” Diane admitted.

For Ann Wohlhieter, loving her husband, Joseph, might have originally seemed out of the question, as he continually “bumped” her out of various positions at Pennsylvania Railroad in Indianapolis.

“If they did away with your job for some reason,” Joseph explained, “then you could bump somebody that had less seniority. So I was hired, and then two or three weeks later [Ann] was hired. I bumped her from her position about eight or 10 times over the years!” he said.

That didn’t bother Ann, however, and the two socialized with the same crowd for several years before “she finally snagged me,” Joseph said with a grin. The couple, members of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, has been married 63 years.

With 71 years of marriage, James and Leona Schuler of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis were the longest married couple who attended the Mass.

“We met on a blind date,” said Leona. “It was love at first sight.” The couple became engaged after six months and married in January of 1942.

With four of seven children still living, 12 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren, Leona said, “We feel very fortunate.

“The Lord has been with us, that’s all we can say.”
 

(Photos from the event, including photos of couples receiving their gift from the archbishop, can be viewed and purchased online by logging on to www.archindy.org/photos and clicking on “Golden Anniversary Mass (2013).”

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!