Couples renew vows at Diocesan Marriage Mass, a divine ‘banquet of love’

Married couples will be invited to renew their wedding vows during the Feb. 12 Marriage Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. Here Jon and Channon Rider of St. Mary Parish in Kickapoo do so at the 2019 Marriage Mass. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Dozens of couples from throughout the Diocese of Peoria got an early and faith-filled start to Valentine’s Day celebrations by renewing their vows at the Diocese of Peoria’s annual Marriage Mass on Saturday afternoon at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, welcomed the couples by explaining that the Mass — the church’s “richest treasure” — has many titles, but one that nicely matched the day’s focus on marriage is “a banquet of love.”

Tom and Bev Paluska of St. Patrick Parish in Washington kiss during the Diocese of Peoria’s Marriage Mass. The Paluskas marked their 52nd wedding anniversary on Jan. 21. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

“At Mass we experience God’s love, we experience Christ truly present in the sacrament, and we experience our love for one another,” said Bishop Jenky.

In place of a homily, Bishop Jenky read for the couples a “Matrimonial Exhortation” that was formerly read at all Catholic weddings to pass on the tradition of Christian marriage to newlyweds.

Because God is its author, “marriage is of its very a nature a holy institution, requiring of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self,” the exhortation reads. It notes that Jesus referred to the love of marriage to describe his own love for the Church, “and so he gave to Christians a new vision of what married life ought to be, a life of self-sacrificing love like his own.”

After the exhortation, Bishop Jenky led the couples in renewing their marriage vows, which they sealed with a kiss.

“They could hear that in Chicago!” the bishop quipped at the sound of dozens of lips smacking.

The Mass featured readings including St. Paul’s definition of love in his letter to the Corinthians, and the Gospel account of Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.

Married couples participating in the liturgy included Mark and Crystal Potthoff of Sacred Heart, Peoria, as lectors, and Steve and Jacque Hurd of St. Patrick, Washington, as gift bearers.

For many couples, the evening continued with a “Date Night” dinner at the Spalding Pastoral Center featuring dueling piano entertainment by Greg Percifield and Cassandra Kaczor of Felix and Fingers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Additional photos from the Marriage Mass and Date Night have been posted to the Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.


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