By Katherine Long | Editor
More than 100 married couples from across the diocese gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Feb. 17 for the annual World Marriage Day Mass.
Sponsored by the Office of Family/Respect Life Ministry, the Mass recognizes couples marking milestone anniversaries and offers all married couples an opportunity to receive a blessing from Bishop Douglas J. Lucia, who celebrated the Mass.
Dolores and James Touranjoe, parishioners of Epiphany Parish at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Liverpool, were honored as the longest-married couple at the liturgy. The couple will celebrate 68 years of marriage on August 23. Dolores and James have five children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild — with one more on the way.
Dolores said there’s not necessarily a secret to a long and happy marriage, but credits God’s goodness as a key component. “God is good,” she told the Sun. “He’s kept us together.”
Dolores and James have a lot of fun together, joking, laughing, going out to dinner on occasion. “We’ve had our ups and downs, just like everyone else, but you weather the storms,” Dolores said. The Kenny Rogers tune “Through the Years” tells the story pretty well, she noted. Among the song’s lyrics are these: “Through the years/ When everything went wrong/ Together we were strong/ I know that I belonged/ Right here with you.”
In his homily, Bishop Lucia reminded those gathered that “created in the image of God, true peace, fulfillment, and purpose can only be found by delving into the wonders of God’s law and the love, wisdom, and grace found therein.
“Dear married couples gathered here this afternoon, you realize this better than anyone else. You are here today because you realize and you know that in order for marriage to flourish and not be short, it requires work and really listening to what the other is saying. At times you too may feel the that standard Jesus sets before us, as illustrated in the vows you spoke to each other and in the presence of witnesses, may seem impossible to fulfill.”
However, the bishop said, “the word of God today invites us to take a step back — to take a step back and to appreciate really all that goes into our relationship with God, our relationship with one another.
“As we’ve heard it said before, love ain’t cheap. We’re not cheap. Marriage is not cheap. And so in a very real way, all of it takes work and sacrifice. And yet in that work and in that sacrifice, we come to know fruitfulness.”
Closing his homily, the bishop shared with the couples filling the church a message recently written to him by a friend who is journeying with her husband in his final days with stage-four cancer. “She said, ‘I wish I could take his place and spare him this pain. He would do it for me. The honeymoon never ended for us.’ May the honeymoon never end for you.”