Milestone Anniversary Mass celebrates and blesses the marriage covenant

by Joan Kurkowski-Gillen

North Texas Catholic

February 18, 2020

Hieu Le, center, and Yenvy Mang, right of him, stand with other parishioners as Bishop Michael Olson enters to celebrate the Milestone Anniversary Mass at Our Lady Fatima Parish in Fort Worth, Feb. 16, 2020. Hieu Le, center, and Yenvy Mang, right of him, stand with other parishioners as Bishop Michael Olson enters to celebrate the Milestone Anniversary Mass at Our Lady Fatima Parish in Fort Worth, Feb. 16, 2020.
Hieu Le, center, and Yenvy Mang, right of him, stand with other parishioners as Bishop Michael Olson enters to celebrate the Milestone Anniversary Mass at Our Lady Fatima Parish in Fort Worth, Feb. 16, 2020. The married couple has been married for 20 years. (NTC/Ben Torres) Photo gallery


FORT WORTH — What do the words “domestic church” mean?

For David and Roseanne Greer, it describes their role as the primary catechists of William, 4, Bridget, 2, and 5-month-old Andrew.

“That also involves being an example of faith to our kids,” David explained. “It’s our vocation — a part of marriage.”

The Franciscan University graduates, who will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary in June, joined more than 60 other couples and their relatives at the diocesan Marriage Anniversary Mass held February 16 at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Fort Worth.

Every year, the U.S. Catholic Church promotes the spiritual and social benefits of marriage and family life — greater happiness, better health, reduced poverty, and more resilient children — during National Marriage Week. The theme for the 2020 observance, Feb. 7-14, was “Stories from the Domestic Church.”

As part of that celebration, the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life recognizes the gifts of sacramental marriage with an annual Mass. This year’s event was open to all Catholic couples marking a five, 10, 20, or other milestone anniversary. Previous years honored husbands and wives celebrating a golden or silver wedding jubilee.

Richard Grantvedt, left, kisses his wife Antonieta Grantvedt, during the sign of peace as other couples show affection for each other at the Silver and Gold Anniversary Mass at Our Lady Fatima Parish in Fort Worth, Feb. 16, 2020.
Richard Grantvedt, left, kisses his wife Antonieta Grantvedt, during the sign of peace as other couples show affection for each other at the Milestone Anniversary Mass at Our Lady Fatima Parish in Fort Worth, Feb. 16, 2020. The couple has been married for 20 years. (NTC/Ben Torres)

“I think it shows young people that marriages can not only endure but thrive,” said Chris Vaughan, director of marriage and family life. “Everyone goes through hardships. It’s encouraging to see older folks who have stayed married.”

Welcoming the congregation at the beginning of the Mass, Bishop Michael Olson congratulated the anniversary couples and thanked them for their “ministry as husband and wives.”

The world thinks of marriage as a contract between two people.

“But Christ teaches it is a covenant,” the bishop explained in his homily. “Married life becomes a means by which a husband and wife sanctify each other.”

Marriage is more than something that benefits the individual.

“It calls you to give evermore generously to each other, your families, and society as a whole,” he continued. “Married life, lived out with all of its challenges, struggles, and joys, prepares us for eternal life.”

Vows exchanged by the couples many years ago in front of family and friends spoke of permanence, fidelity, exclusivity, and openness to God’s gift of children. Living that commitment of married life involves mercy, forgiveness, and patience and is even more important today.

“At a time when we live in a culture so wrapped in itself — so narcissistic and unkind in its discourse — married life offers witness and testimony for the rest of society,” the bishop suggested. “As you thank God for the gift of married life, may He continue to bless you as you continue your journey and witness of fidelity and joy.”

The bishop’s words struck a chord with Roseanne Greer. In our culture, children are often the priority when it comes to family.

“But it’s also important to remember the husband and wife and that foundation of the domestic church,” said the St. Patrick parishioner. “We are the instrument to get each other to heaven. It’s so beautiful to have a Mass celebrating and highlighting that.”

Hieu Le, center, and Yenvy Mang, right of him, stand with other parishioners as Bishop Michael Olson enters to celebrate the Milestone Anniversary Mass at Our Lady Fatima Parish in Fort Worth, Feb. 16, 2020.

FORT WORTH — What do the words “domestic church” mean?

Published (until 6/19/2035)
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