Couples Celebrate Silver and Gold Anniversaries
Love is patient " silver and gold anniversaries prove it
By Margarita Mendoza, Editor El Observador
August 26, 2021
HUNTLEY—“By honoring your marriages, you first honor God Himself,” said Bishop David Malloy to the 231 couples registered to participate in person at the Silver and Gold Mass 2021.
 
Last year, because of COVID-19, the bishop’s Mass was broadcast because people were confined at home. The names of those celebrating anniversaries in 2020 were run across the screen. 
 
This year those who celebrated 25, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 or more in 2020 and in 2021 were invited to the in-person event at St. Mary Parish in Huntley.
 
The bliss of celebrating 11,652 combined years of marriage was in the air that Aug. 22 afternoon. 
 
“It was a joy to see so many, and such a variety of couples celebrating significant milestone anniversaries,” said Kassandra Salgado, coordinator of marriage preparation for the diocesan Life and Familly Evangelization (LiFE) Office. 
 
“Some couples drove hours to attend,” she added. “Some couples have been married for 70-plus years. Some couples were celebrating significant anniversaries along with their children.” 
 
At the beginning of Mass, Bishop Malloy explained that marriage among a man and woman is important according to God’s plan.
 
Speaking to “all the young people who are here, how important it is for us to be looking at this good example that’s being given to us and to say it is worth it … I can do it; I can listen to that calling from God,” he said. 
 
Bishop Malloy expressed his gratitude to all those celebrating anniversaries: “Thank you for what you have done, thank you for showing us … love of Jesus Christ. Thank you for reminding us how good this is, how possible it is. And at the end, with all of that, we choose to say for you and with you, thank God!” He also invited the couples to “forgive deeply,” and to “love your marriage as Christ loves the Church.”
 
Words of wisdom
 
Some spouses shared advice on how to have a long marriage. 
 
“Trust in God and have faith and everything will be fine,” said Diane Benbennick. “All that God wants is our attention,” her husband, Tom, said, “and if we give Him our attention, He will take care of everything in our 71 years of marriage.”
 
Jan C. and Beverly Francque, 60, are parishioners of St. Mary Parish, Sterling. With humor, Beverly shared how they met, saying that “his sister told me she had three brothers. One must be right for you. And here we are.” 
 
Beverly also said that six decades of marriage shows it is important to “always say I love you. This is a lifelong commitment, and some days you will feel like getting out, but something happens to remind you of that love that brought you together.”
 
“God is very important in our lives,” said Laura Boehm. “You must try. People these days don’t try.” 
She notes, “If he makes you mad, talk about it, and then forget it because it is over.” She and her husband, Fredrick, parishioners at St. Thomas More, Elgin, have been married for 50 years. They match their clothing “every day,” she said. “Even the shoes,” he added.
 
Love stories
 
‘We were high school sweethearts … we were a couple of kids on Oct. 8, 1951. Madly in love!” Seventy years, six children, 10 grandchildren and some great-grandchildren later, Jim and Dorothy Barkley from St. Katharine Drexel, Sugar Grove, are still together. They were “involved for many years” with the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Movement.  
 
“He asked me out Saturday afternoon – then you didn’t admit you didn’t have a date for Saturday night, so I said no… he asked me out again and the rest is history,” wrote Prescott and Silvia Bates, from St. Catherine of Siena, West Dundee, on the Magical Memories sheets placed on the tables in St. Mary Parish hall.
 
“We met at a soda fountain… in 1955,” said Barbara and John Tokarz, 64 years of marriage, from St. Mary, Huntley.
 
“We met on a blind date,” shared Jerry and Sue McCreight, 55 years of marriage, parishioners of St. Thomas More, Elgin.
 
“We met on Ash Wednesday 1960,” then married “in Chicago with five priests at the altar, no way the marriage wouldn’t last!” Donald and Susan Rago, 60 years, recall.
 
These husbands and wives are well-versed in how to keep a marriage for life. 
 
They also know, as the Ragos wrote, that there are “a lot of up and downs, hard times, good times … many life altering changes.” However, added this St. Peter, Geneva, couple: “love, patience, humor, family,” are necessary to have a lifelong marriage. 
 
As the Gospel of Matthew (19:6) says, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
 
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