10,895 Years of Marriage Celebrated At Annual Silver and Gold Mass
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
August 24, 2023
HUNTLEY—The 220 couples who gathered Aug. 20, at St. Mary Parish to celebrate at the annual diocesan Silver and Gold Mass represented an astounding total of 10,895 combined years of marriage. Bishop David Malloy was the main celebrant at the Mass, recognizing couples throughout the diocese married for 25, 50 or 50-plus years.
A chance meeting at a church-sponsored dance led to 75 years of marriage for George and Marcella Drendel of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Hampshire, the longest married couple in attendance at the Mass. “She was something different, really outstanding,” George recalled. “We believe in give and take in our marriage,” Marcella said. “We’re farmers, so we understand hard work and to just keep trying and working on your marriage.”
Steve and Dorothy Travis of St. Bridget Parish in Loves Park have been married for 50 years and credit their Catholic faith for the success of their relationship. “You have to have a strong spiritual life because you can’t make it without the grace of God,” Dorothy said. “I think husbands and wives must also have a great sense of humor.”
According to Pasquale and Irma Danna from St. Mary Parish in Huntley, understanding and sacrifice are most important for the success of a marriage. The Dannas have been married for 73 years and offered sage advice to other married couples. “I try to be giving when my wife needs something from me,” Pasquale said. 
“We both try to be aware of the other’s needs,” Irma said. “He puts me first, and I try to put him first.”
“Don’t argue about insignificant things and don’t go to bed mad,” Pasquale said. “We try to do what we can for each other; that’s what keeps a marriage together.”
In his homily, Bishop David Malloy encouraged couples to reflect on the attributes of a strong marriage. “The joy of marriage, family and fidelity; the fulfillment of giving and receiving from one another in a way that’s so deep and so exclusive mirrors that way in which God first gave Himself to us.”
“With God, there are no coincidences,” Bishop Malloy said. “He has a plan for each of you and that plan is what we are celebrating today. Be thankful for that plan, of your marriage, not only on the good days but also on the bad days. Thankfulness for your commitment in sickness and health, patience and forgiveness and support and connectedness are what helps us to one day cross that finish line and get to heaven.”
“You are also an example and an encouragement to young people who need to see that standard of marriage,” Bishop Malloy said. “They need to know that the joy of marriage is not simply a passing emotion. It is a joy that is so much deeper, a joy that is rooted in God’s love for you and for each other. Our young people need to know that joy and commitment are possible, and you are the ones witnessing that.”
A cake and punch reception followed the Silver and Gold Mass in the parish social hall.
The event is organized each year by the diocesan Life and Family Evangelization Office. For more information about this annual event call 815-399-4300.
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