Bishop celebrates loving examples at annual Mass
Golden wedding couples mark milestone at cathedral
As he gazed over the sea of older couples before him, Bishop David Zubik confessed that nothing he could say could overshadow the witness of their love for one another.
"Thank you for the living sermon that you are," he said.
Bishop Zubik recognized 271 couples for their 50 years of marriage during the Golden Anniversary Mass Oct. 9 at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.
In noting that the Mass fell on Vocations Sunday, the bishop pointed out that while vocations are usually associated with the priesthood or religious life, there is also the powerful witness of the single and married life.
Bishop Zubik went on to list a number of department stores that were once part of the Pittsburgh retail scene. Their largest departments, he noted, were usually the clothing areas in which shoppers found items to make themselves look better.
He likened the stores to the Gospel of the day, in which a number of people rejected the invitation of the king to attend a wedding reception. Ultimately, one of those who did show up was improperly dressed and was thrown out.
The lesson, the bishop said, is that we cannot just expect to show up at heaven's gate when we die.
"If you and I hope to get into the kingdom of God, then it means that we better have put on Christ," he said. "And not just here and there, but every day of our lives."
Putting on the garments of Christ, he added, is the ticket to getting into heaven.
Bishop Zubik told the couples that none of them could be together for 50 years if they did not show mercy, understanding or a willingness to forgive or be forgiven.
"My sisters and brothers, you could not be here today if you did not wear Christ, if you did not wear compassion," he said.
They recognized, he added, that they are to each other the ticket to heaven.
Bill and Heather Kreke, area leaders for Worldwide Marriage Encounter, lauded the couples for exhibiting the unconditional love of Jesus.
Their witness, Bill noted, follows the Marriage Encounter motto of being living examples of Christ's love and having a positive impact on the wider church and world.
Added Heather: "It is an honor to witness the gift of your sacramental love, and we are grateful for your example of unwavering commitment to the sacrament of marriage."
The Golden Anniversary Mass was coordinated through the Office for Adult and Family Faith Formation, under the direction of Maureen Wood.