Couples celebrate 50 years of marriage


By Anne Marie Amacher

Joseph and Peggy Ragona, left, and Gene and Joyce Schneckloth renew their marriage vows during a diocesan-wide 50th wedding anniversary Mass. The celebration was held Sept. 15 at St. Ann Parish in Long Grove.

LONG GROVE – Around 40 couples celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries with a renewal of marriage vows during a Mass at St. Ann Parish on Sept. 15. Each year the Diocese of Davenport hosts a 50th wedding anniversary Mass to celebrate couples’ long-lived commitment to the sacrament of marriage.
Bishop Martin Amos blessed the couples and their family members with holy water after the opening of Mass.
During his homily, Bishop Amos told of a recent nuptial Mass he celebrated in the diocese. He contemplated the 50th anniversary of that young couple, which would be in 2063. “What will their life be like? What will the world be like? What will they have experienced over those years?”
He told the couples before him, celebrating a half-century of life together, to think back to 1963 to their wedding day. What would they have thought they would go through over the years? “You’d probably say, ‘I don’t know about 2013.’”
The bishop said he knew that the young husband and wife who recently recited their vows sensed the consequences of those vows. “But I’m sure they didn’t comprehend it all. It’s probably a good thing we don’t know all that is in store for us.
“I would venture to say when you renew your vows today, that as you look into each other’s eyes today, it will be with a truly deeper meaning now.”
He bet many of them took out their old wedding photos. “You look a little different today, don’t you? The bridal party, too, perhaps your folks looking proudly on.”
Over the course of 50 years many people have come into and out of their lives. The couples have had many different experiences of life. “All are part of your history, part of your life, part of who you are and who you have become,” the bishop said.
“We also gather for this Eucharist and give thanks today for the graces you received, for the faithful witness to marriage that you are and for the gifts and blessings that have come to you and through you. May God who 50 years ago began the good work in you, bring it to fulfillment.”
Following Mass, a reception was held in the great room of the parish.
Fifty years ago, Diane and Bob Fuller married at St. Pius X Parish in Rock Island, Ill. They previously belonged to Ss. Philip & James Parish in Grand Mound and currently belong to St. Mary Parish in Oskaloosa.
Diane said they were surprised to receive an invitation to the anniversary Mass. “It was quite nice.”
She and her husband are marking their 50th anniversary with three celebrations this year: a surprise party their children gave them this past summer, the anniversary Mass in Long Grove and their actual anniversary, in November. “This is a very nice thing the diocese offers,” Diane said.
Gene and Joyce Schne­ck­loth of Eldridge belong to St. Ann’s in Long Grove. They were married July 7, 1963, at Holy Family Parish in Daven­port. Joyce said they participated in the Mass because 50 years is a special accomplishment. They were joined by their son and grandchildren.

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