August 17, 2018

Golden anniversary couples celebrate 2,900 years of marriage

Ron and Sandra Hartlieb of St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis dance to a jazz band in the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis on Aug. 5 at a reception following the archdiocesan Golden Wedding Jubilee Mass. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Ron and Sandra Hartlieb of St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis dance to a jazz band in the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis on Aug. 5 at a reception following the archdiocesan Golden Wedding Jubilee Mass. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

Some love stories begin at first sight. Other tales start as early childhood friendships that blossom and grow through the course of many years. Most originate somewhere in between.

Regardless of how their narrative began, the stories of the 58 couples gathered at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis shared much in common: love, faith, commitment, sacrifice and joy written during a span of 50 years of marriage.

The couples came together from 36 parishes throughout southern and central Indiana on Aug. 5 to participate in the annual archdiocesan Golden Wedding Jubilee Mass. Together, they represented 2,900 years of marriage, 163 children, 324 grandchildren and 25 great‑grandchildren. (Related: Read more stories of long-time marriages)

As Archbishop Charles C. Thompson welcomed the couples and their families at the beginning of the Mass, he noted that 2018 also marks the 50th anniversary of the re-establishment of the permanent diaconate in the United States by the country’s bishops. The first class of deacons in the history of the archdiocese were ordained in 2008. There are now 57 permanent deacons serving in the archdiocese, plus three who are retired. Two of the active deacons were among those at the Mass celebrating 50 years of marriage.

“As a core belief of our Catholic faith, we hold that it is the very real presence of Jesus Christ made available to us in the Eucharist that sustains us in life, in our vocations [of] marriage, priesthood and service,” the archbishop told the congregation during his homily. “So, it is most appropriate that we gather in honor of those celebrating a golden jubilee anniversary within the context of Mass.”

He noted that the Gospel reading from John 6:24-35 was one of several in the coming weeks focusing on Christ as the Bread of Life. Such a claim caused many people of Jesus’ time to struggle and eventually to walk away from him.

“We, too, struggle with challenges and uncertainties as we strive to live out our respective vocations,” Archbishop Thompson said. “We do well to take to heart the exhortation of St. Paul to the Ephesians, in our second reading, seeking truth not in ourselves, not in just anything that comes along, … but seeking truth, St. Paul says, always in Christ.”

Later in his homily, Archbishop Thompson referred to Pope Francis’ recently published apostolic exhortation on holiness, “Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), which declares that “the call to holiness is rooted in baptism for each of us—not just for a few but for each and every one of us. [We’re] called to holiness, called to this righteousness in Jesus Christ alone, by sacramental grace throughout the course of living out one’s vocation.

“[The pope] goes on to tell us, it’s by the little things we do daily that helps us to grow in holiness—when we are attentive to the needs of one another, as husband and wife must be to one another, and to their children, and children to their parents.”

Archbishop Thompson closed his homily with a note of gratitude “for the witness of you couples gathered with us this day, witnessing not only to your families and your communities, but to the entire world and the Church.

“May all that we are and all that we accomplish be founded in him, the Bread of Life.”

After his homily, the archbishop asked all of the couples celebrating golden anniversary to rise and join hands. He then invited all present to pray in silence for the couples. And just as at the end of their weddings five decades ago, the brides and grooms were invited to share a kiss.

At the reception held across the street at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center after the Mass, three of those couples shared with The Criterion their love stories, the role of faith in their marriage, and advice for couples so that they, too, might one day celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. (Related: Read more stories of long-time marriages)
 

(Anniversaries of 50 years or of five‑year increments from 60 years and more can be announced in The Criterion by filling out the form at bit.ly/2M4MQms [case sensitive], or by calling Cindy Clark at 317-236-1585 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1585.)

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