Just because Valentine’s Day had passed didn’t deter hundreds of lovers from celebrating their marriages this past Saturday, as the Stockton Diocese held a special wedding anniversary mass at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Turlock. The event served as an opportunity for couples to come together with their families, friends and community to renew their commitment and receive the blessing of the Church.
The Diocese holds these special wedding anniversary masses once a year at different parishes. The year’s mass in Turlock, which saw Our Lady of Assumption filled near capacity, was presided over by Bishop Myron J. Cotta.
“Today was a great time to get with God’s people in celebrating married life and years of anniversary. It’s been a joy to come here to Turlock to Our Lady of Assumption to celebrate this great event in the lives of our people. And it’s not just the people in this particular parish, but it’s a cross section of the Diocese, and that’s what’s impressive. The church was basically full in the second year of doing this, and they’re a great testimony to the sacrament of married life,” Cotta said.
According to Diocese of Stockton Director of Media and Communications Erin Haight, over 500 couples registered for the event, though not all were able to make it, as couples from throughout the region made the trip to Turlock.
One of the couples who were in attendance was Ruben and Sylvia Sanchez of Stockton, who have been married for 37 years.
“We’ve been married a long time, we’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve raised a son that’s all grown, and we just thought it was a beautiful commitment to come back and renew,” Sylvia said. “Honestly, as I was saying my vows, they actually even meant more than when we were younger. Now I know exactly what marriage entails. I’m so happy that I did do this.”
For her husband, Ruben, being able to honor his love of his wife and his faith was a no brainer.
“I just want to be active and be a good example to the younger generation. Marriage is what Jesus wants. He wants the best for all of us, like love, and you can’t go wrong with love. I was just following my love for Jesus and my love for my wife,” he said.
Joe and Hilda Gomes also drove to town from Jamestown. Joe serves as Deacon of All Saints Church in Twain Harte, and felt as if attending the mass would be the perfect way to honor his 50-year marriage to his wife, Hilda.
“This whole month of February is considered the month of marriage and family, so we’re here honoring marriage. This our first time and we figured we’ll go here to celebrate our 50th anniversary. And it’s definitely been 50 good years,” he said.
Whether the couples had decades of marriage under their belts or months, the significance of the event was clear by looking at the emotions shown by some of the attendees.
“Some bring their families and get real dressed up, so it’s a really big deal for a lot of them,” Haight said. “Some are married for 50 years, some closer to 70, and others who got married last month who aren’t renewing their vows, but they’re renewing that commitment to that bond. I think having the Catholic Church and the blanket of Christ embracing them is a really special and beautiful thing.”
More coverage of last week’s Wedding Anniversary Mass will be available on the next episode of Studio209, which can be viewed online at www.Studio209.tv, YouTube at Studio209, Facebook at www.facebook.com/209Magazine, Twitter at @209Magazine and Instagram at @209Magazine
Marriage Anniversary Mass | Studio209Hundreds of couples attended the Stockton Diocese's annual Wedding Anniversary Mass at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Turlock to renew their marriage vows.