Bishop James P. Powers uses incense to represent the prayers of the faithful rising to heaven during the Wedding Anniversary Mass on July 20 at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior. (Submitted photo)

On July 20, 81 couples from the Diocese of Superior celebrated their wedding anniversaries with Bishop James P. Powers.

Following the Wedding Anniversary Mass, which included a renewal of vows, the couples shared fellowship and a luncheon.

Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Rudolph, Rhinelander, who celebrated 65 years of marriage. Nine couples celebrated 60 years together, and another nine marked their 55th anniversary.

Twenty-one couples celebrated golden anniversaries.

Four of the couples present were permanent deacons and their wives.

In his homily, Bishop Powers said, “Today, we gather to celebrate one of the most important and oldest institutions in the world – the institution of marriage and family— as we gather to celebrate your wedding anniversaries, your life’s reality,” he began.

“Instead of a ‘contract,’ we celebrate the ‘covenant;’ the eternal promise the two of you made not only to each other, but also to God and the eternal promise God made to you,” the bishop affirmed.

Bishop Powers noted the numerous times Jesus himself uses marriage as an analogy to help his followers understand his relationship to God and the kingdom of heaven.

He said on the day of their weddings, armed with God’s grace and strength, “You became a sacramental sign for the entire world to see the love the Lord has for his church and for each one of us – a love that is permanent and life-giving.”

“Jesus didn’t promise that it would always be a party, all fun or easy, or all sunshine and roses – a war-free zone … What Jesus did promise was to be with you and give you the strength and grace you needed to face the challenges, the crosses and the disappointments that would come your way,” he said. “Today, we rejoice in and celebrate the witness you are to us and to the world.”

The bishop encouraged spouses to work at their marriages, love, be kind and forgive, put each other first and be a witness of God’s love.

He ended with a prayer for the intercession of Mary and Joseph: “With the help of their son, Jesus, may the love you share grow stronger every day, and may you grow strong in faith and continue to be the sign of God’s glory to all.”
Each couple was presented with a certificate of recognition signed by the bishop.