Hundreds of couples renew vows at diocesan Marriage Mass
Like at their wedding in the same church 62 years ago, Bob and Marcella Lindley of Farmington faced one another last Saturday, joined hands, and made promises to one another and God.
This time, however, the Lindleys were not the sole focus of attention. They were joined at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria by hundreds of couples from around the diocese also renewing their vows at the annual Marriage Mass.
“As your bishop, I give thanks to God for you,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, in welcoming the couples on the eve of Valentines Day.
Noting their faithful, self-sacrificing love symbolizes Christ’s love the for the church, Bishop Jenky told the couples “you build up my faith, and you build up the Body of Christ.”
“There are times you may have failed, but God doesn’t expect perfection,” said Bishop Jenky, who led the couples in renewing their vows and greeted them following Mass. “What God expects is a loving heart, ready to try over and over again.”
After Mass, about 75 of the couples continued the celebration by taking part in a candlelight dinner and “date night” at the Spalding Pastoral Center.
Sponsored by the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family, the evening featured string music by the River City String Quartet, the viewing of a brief, humorous video on newlyweds, the awarding of door prizes, and encouragement to do “little things” every day that mean a lot in a marriage.
“What have you done for your marriage lately?” asked Tim Roder, director of the Orrice of Marriage and Family. He walked throughout the banquet room to get answers. One husband said he’d just painted the kitchen for his wife. Another couple just enjoyed a breakfast out.
Roder offered another idea: frequent reception of the Eucharist.
He quoted the late Pope John Paul II as saying the Eucharist is “the source of Christian marriage. With the arrival of Lent later in the week, Roder encouraged the couples to pray for marriage and for their spouse in particular.
The evening provided another opportunity to do just that as Craig Dyke, associate director, invited the couples to again stand and face one another. For 60 seconds, he asked them to “energize your beloved” by praying that God increase their love for one another.
“Do this for one minute every day,” Dyke encouraged the couples. “Or do it for 15 seconds, or 30 seconds. There is nothing more intimate than placing yourself before God in prayer.”
Roder asked the couples to stand as he acknowledged their years of marriage. Those in attendance ranged from newlyweds Wayne and Melissa Cox of Holy Family Parish, Lincoln, to the Lindleys, married for 62 years.
Bishop Jenky called marriage more than romance. “It’s the deepest possible human friendship, modeled after God’s love,” and a foretaste of heaven.
He called the Marriage Mass “a day when we give thanks to God for the sacrament of matrimony, for love, and for God’s love for us.”