Despite snow and frigid temperatures, couples throughout the Diocese of Syracuse celebrated their marriages, commitments and deep love for one another Feb. 9. The annual World Marriage Day Mass, coordinated by the diocesan Office of Family Life Education, was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and celebrated by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, who gave a special blessing and presented couples celebrating 25, 50 and more years of marriage with certificates of recognition.
During the Mass, all couples that wished to renew their vows were invited to rise, take each other’s hands and proclaim their love and renewed commitment to one another. Among the couples honored and recognized were John and Stella Smorol of Syracuse, who have been married for 67 years.
When asked what makes a marriage so successful, Joan Antonacci, married to her husband Robert for 51 years, quipped,“Shopping.” As Robert laughed Joan reached for his hand. “We do have our ups and downs but we always apologize,” said Joan.
Jerry Kane, who attended Mass with his wife of 53 years, Mary, grinned. “You just sort of go by the seat of your pants. You have to work at it and remember it’s not always an easy road.”
Maureen and John Goodman, celebrating 60 years of marriage that began in England, smiled at each other. “A good marriage takes a good sense of humor,” said John. Maureen nodded. “And you have to be friends too,” she added.
Following the Mass, Mary Corapi of Cicero and Stephanie Caroli of Clay, each celebrating 51 years of marriage with their husbands, gathered at the back of the Cathedral and looked over each other’s certificates with delight. “We’ve been friends over 70 years and were married a few months apart,” explained Caroli. “This Mass is very special to all of us.”
Before they met their husbands, Peter and Joseph, and were married in 1963, Caroli and Corapi grew up together and attended St. Anthony of Padua in Utica. “We’ve been friends all this time,” explained Corapi. “We were in each other’s weddings and we stayed close through the years.”
When the four friends were asked what keeps a marriage together for more than 50 years, the responses were varied. “Mutual respect,” stated Mary Corapi. “Compromise,” said Stephanie Caroli. “Humor,” added Peter Caroli and Joseph Corapi laughed. “Patience. A whole lot of patience.”
Grasping their certificates, the four friends left the Cathedral, laughing and chatting. Reaching for their spouse’s hand, each couple carefully made their way into the cold winter night.