The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist was nearly filled to capacity on July 30 for the annual golden wedding anniversary celebration. Couples who were married in 1967 and are celebrating their 50th anniversary were invited to attend.
Jason Lewis of the Marriage and Family Life Office who coordinates the Mass said about 240 couples from throughout the diocese registered for the liturgy through their parishes. Many invited family and friends to join them.
Celebrant was Father Tom Dragga, pastor of Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Solon. Concelebrant was Father Gary Chmura, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Cleveland. Deacon Tom Daw of Sacred Heart Parish in Oberlin assisted.
Love was the central theme of the liturgy and readings. During the homily, Father Dragga stood near the congregation as he preached.
”You are a witness to us, an example of how to love both God and ourselves,” he told the anniversary couples.
He referenced the popular movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” noting how “Windex could solve any problem.” In the sequel movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” Father Dragga said Rita Wilson’s song, “Even More Mine,” is applicable to the golden wedding anniversary celebration.
“In moments when it would be easier to turn away, you stuck it out,” he said, telling the couples they are “Even More Mine” to each other, as the song says, thanks to their years of history and live experiences.
“You are celebrating 50 years of married life, the sacramental bond between the two of you and God. Even in times of difficulty, as you come to recommit and are sitting next to each other, you are “Even More Mine.” Your love, witness and commitment help ups. You are more for each other and for us,” Father Dragga said, noting that the couples stood by each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, as they promised on their wedding day.
“What you continue to do — living out this sacramental bond – for this, we thank you and applaud you,” he said, as the congregation broke into applause.
The couples then stood, faced each other, held hands and recommitted themselves.
The husbands said: “Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took (wife’s name) as my wife.”
The wives said: “Blessed are you, Lord, for by your goodness I took (husband’s name) as my husband.”
Together they said: “Blessed are you, Lord, for in the good and bad times of our life you have stood lovingly by our side. Help us, we pray, to remain faithful in our love for one another, so that we may be true witnesses to the covenant you have made with humankind.”
“Grooms, you may kiss your brides,” Father Dragga said.
After Mass, Father Dragga greeted couples and many crowded around the altar to take photos.