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Vocation of Marriage Celebrated at St. Mary Cathedral
The Fourth Annual Marriage Enrichment Dinner in celebration of World Marriage Day was held at St. Mary Cathedral on February 12. The celebration followed the 5:00 p.m. Eucharistic liturgy, with more than 100 couples from across the diocese joining in the festivities.
The Cathedral Parish Hall was transformed into a romantic setting and guests were greeted with music as couples entered the candlelit venue for a catered dinner. During the prelude, couples were invited to have pictures taken which were developed and given to the couples before they left as a memento of the evening.
Fr. James Bearss, Pastor of the Northern Lights Catholic Community, shared some light-hearted stories regarding marriage before offering a blessing for the meal.
After dinner, couples had an opportunity to take to the dance floor while a DJ spun songs and took special requests.
Cathedral Business Manager Mari Anna Wahr acknowledged couples married the longest as well as the couple most recently married and invited those present to participate in a game she referred to as the not so newlywed game before the group moved to the Church.
Margaret Madagame performed and engaged the couples in some special music leading into a keynote address by Bishop Bernard Hebda.
Opening his talk, Bishop Hebda said, What a wonderful evening this has been this opportunity to really celebrate that love that unites husband and wife and is at the heart of our families. We are so grateful to celebrate with you.
He continued, sharing insights from the beatification Mass for Luigi and Maria Quattrocchi from Rome which Bishop Hebda attended. The Quattrocchis were the first married couple beatified by the Church as they were declared blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2001. Bishop Hebda reflected upon Pope John Pauls homily and the example of the Quattrocchis in highlighting the vocation of marriage and its special role in conveying Christs love.
Pope John Paul stressed that the Quattrocchis had lived married love and service to life in the light of the Gospel and with great human intensity. Drawing on the word of God and the witness of the saints, the blessed couple lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary way, Bishop Hebda said. Luigi and Marias fidelity to the Gospel and their heroic virtues were verified in their life as spouses and parents.
The Pope that day really rejoiced in the fact that in the life of Maria and Luigi, as in your life -- married couples who day after day earnestly fulfill your mission as spouses and parents -- we can contemplate the sacramental revelation of Christs love for the Church The Church needs you to give us that witness, Bishop Hebda added.
Bishop Hebda encouraged those present to pursue whatever you need to make sure that youre able to give witness to our diocese of Christs incredible love for this Church. If you see some way in which the diocese can be of greater help to you, I hope that you wont hesitate to bring that to my attention.
To conclude the evening, candles were lit for each couple. Bishop Hebda offered a special blessing and couples were invited to renew their marriage vows.
"We have attended all the Marriage Enrichment celebrations," sid Ben and Marcia Albosta from St. Francis Parish in Lewiston. "We can't think of a more beautiful place to celebrate marriage than at the Heart of our Diocese. We cannot thank everyone enough for all the work that goes into preparing an evening like this. From the decorations, candle light, music, dinner, the renewal of vows and Bishop Hebda's talk. The guitar music in church was greatly appreciated. It is an evening we look forward to every year," they added
The event was planned by representatives from St. Mary Cathedral and the Diocese of Gaylord.