PROVIDENCE — For the past 12 years, the Diocese of Providence has held a special Mass for couples throughout Rhode Island celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries. This past Sunday, Sept. 15, 200 couples gathered in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul to renew the vows they made on their wedding day.
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Of the hundreds of couples participating in the event sponsored by the diocesan Office of Marriage Preparation, many celebrated more than 50 years of married life together. Sitting in the front row were those celebrating more than 70 years of Holy Matrimony.
Holding hands, Nicola and Santa Mainelli, parishioners of Saint Pius V. Parish, Providence, smiled with their family as they celebrated 75 years as husband and wife. When asked the secret of a long marriage, Nicola pointed upwards. “The secret is the Lord.”
Those gathered for the anniversary Mass shared the same sentiment of how important it is to nurture these relationships which have God as their foundation.
Augustina and Paschal Aguocha of Holy Name of Jesus Church, Providence, came to celebrate their 42nd anniversary. In unison they said, both “commitment” and unconditional love has been central to their relationship, but staying centered in Christ has been vital.
“Our Catholic faith has helped a lot,” said Augustina. “We pray together and attend Mass every Sunday and during the week,” added Paschal.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin who served as the main celebrant and homilist for the Mass, with other clergy concelebrating, offered a blessing to the couples with family and friends in attendance. He shared that regardless of the number of years, these important milestones are a chance to reflect upon the past and for the couples to recommit themselves to the future.
“When we think back over the years, dear jubilarians, we think of all the challenges and problems we’ve faced. But you’re survivors,” said Bishop Tobin. “I think and hope the passage of years has given you a certain wisdom, a certain insight, a certain perspective, especially about the presence of God and the reality of faith in your lives. Faith is the solid foundation for which we build our lives…Dear friends, it’s true, in your holy marriage, God has made his dwelling place among you. So congratulations and God bless you always. Be strong in the faith and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Trust in the Lord and he will always, always be with you.”
Following Mass, a reception was held in the lower level of the cathedral where the couples had a photo opportunity with the bishop and received a personalized certificate in remembrance of the special occasion.