Couples renew marriage vows at Diocesan Anniversary Mass

By: By Jennifer Willems

One could be forgiven for wondering how long Yvonne and Jim Glasch of St. Joseph Parish in Marseilles had been married. It didn’t seem possible that the youthful couple could have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

“We were 18 and 19 — that’s why we’re on the young side of it,” Jim told The Catholic Post.

“We have a lot in common. We met roller skating,” said Yvonne. “We like to dance. We’re cyclists. We were avid skiers.”

While all that activity has been good for the couple, it is the trust they have in one another that has formed the firm foundation on which their relationship rests.

“There are no secrets. We communicate,” Yvonne said. “If you keep secrets it’s not going to work. There won’t be any trust. You will constantly think, ‘What’s going on?'”

“You’re both married — not one or the other,” Jim said.

That total gift of self between a man and a woman who are united in Christ may not always be easy, but it is always good, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, said at the Diocesan Anniversary Mass, which drew 475 people to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on Sept. 15.

“Married couples teach each other and teach the rest of us how to build our lives around love,” he said, noting that this love becomes the foundation for all the other loves and commitments of their lives.

“Certainly there is excitement and deep desire in Christian marriage, but in Christian marriage there is also respect and fidelity, forgiving and forgetting, growing and changing over and over again,” according to Bishop Jenky. “As the Lord taught it is better to give than to receive, but married couples are granted the gift of doing both, giving and receiving, the gift of sharing love from one another.”

LIVING SACRAMENTS
Calling them living sacraments, the bishop explained that they are outward signs that give grace not only to one another but to the whole church.

“These silver and golden jubilee couples have certainly been a blessing to their families and friends,” Bishop Jenky said. “They have experienced the biblical blessing promised at their wedding of seeing their children’s children and for some, even their children’s children’s children.”

Among those who attended the annual liturgy sponsored by the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Family Life were 73 couples celebrating 50 years of marriage in 2013 and 54 couples observing their 25th anniversary. More than 200 family members and friends joined Bishop Jenky in rejoicing over their witness.

Before he led them in a renewal of their marriage vows, Bishop Jenky assured the couples that the church gives thanks for them.

“Let us celebrate your love and may all of us recommit ourselves to everything we say we believe,” he said. “Let us live and love today so that we can live and love together forever in heaven.”

Cecelia and Ron Swolley of Blessed Sacrament in Morton believe they got a head start on that road, because it was God who intended that they be together.

They met on a blind date, joining friends for a movie in Decatur, and “it worked,” Ron said. “I knew the night we met — there wasn’t any question.”

He wasn’t Catholic but was received into the Catholic Church before they married on June 22, 1963. “She was a good influence,” he told The Catholic Post.

They welcomed four sons and three daughters over a 22-year period and now have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Cecelia said this great good is possible because “you don’t ever give up” in the tough times. “It takes work.”

Ron added faith and commitment to the list.

“There are three in our marriage — her and me and God,” he said.

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