More than 400 couples renews vows during Mass celebrated by Bishop Noonan
Video highlights from the Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass on February 14 – click here.
For 57 years, John and Delores Ryndak of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kissimmee have honored their marriage covenant. Holding her husband’s hand and looking lovingly into his eyes, Delores said the years together have been a joy and blessing in her life. She wished the same for all married couples.
“Marriage is a give and take,” she said. “You have to have patience, faith and a lot of perseverance. We are happy with our long life together and thank our dear Lord each day for each other.”
The Ryndaks were among the more than 1,000 people, including 400 married couples, who joined Bishop John Noonan for the celebration of the Diocese of Orlando’s Wedding Anniversary Mass, held at St. James Cathedral on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Couples gave thanks to God for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, renewed their wedding vows and also celebrated their wedding anniversaries during the Mass. This celebration is held each year in the Diocese of Orlando near World Marriage Day, generally recognized on the second Sunday of February.
“The love of a husband and wife is placed in their hearts by God to fulfill his design for each person,” Bishop Noonan said. “In the Catholic Church, marriage is more than a social contract made between people. It is more than the benefits afforded married people by society.
“The sanctity of marriage unites the entire being of spouses in love and is a sign of God’s love for humanity,” he continued. “It is the joining of a man and woman to be co-creators with God, to bring life, to bring children into the world.”
Bishop Noonan thanked the husbands and wives for their vocation of marriage and the witness of faith that it brings to others. He said their commitment was a symbol of Christ’s presence in our world.
“Today we are challenged to be fervent in building a culture of marriage as a Sacrament,” Bishop Noonan said. “It requires us to be heralds of the Gospel and to stand steadfast together in promoting and defending marriage as a Sacrament. God willed it and made it.”
During his homily, Bishop Noonan asked the couples what is their secret to a happy marriage. Patricia Dilsner, who has been married to her husband, Donald, for 62 years, the longest married couple in the congregation, was quick to quip, “Communication.”
Also in the congregation was Karina and Hector Santos of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Orlando, who have been married two months and are expecting their first child. Before the start of Mass, the couple shared in their joy of both blessings.
“Everybody tells us the first year can be a challenge,” Hector said, “but to me, it has been a blessing because we also have a baby on the way now.”
The Wedding Anniversary Mass attracts many ministries centered on marriage, including Retrouvaille and Marriage Encounter groups. Celebrating this year were 50 couples from the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, who arrived to the Cathedral via a charter bus. Couples arrived from throughout the diocese. The Mass was the opening liturgy for a weekend marriage retreat.
“This retreat is a way to bring couples together, deepen their faith and their knowledge of the Lord and the role He plays in their marriage,” said Juan Hernandez, one of the marriage retreat organizers. “The Anniversary Mass was the perfect way to celebrate and begin this event.”