Bishop Golka celebrates annual anniversary Mass July 30
By Linda Oppelt
COLORADO SPRINGS. Roughly 120 couples and their families gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral July 30 for the annual diocesan wedding anniversary mass, which recognizes couples celebrating milestone anniversaries.
The purpose of the Mass is to recognize the gifts of the couples’ marriages to the diocese, to each other and to God. The longest-married couple was Milton and Lucille Franklin, celebrating 71 years together. The couple married the shortest amount of time was Steven and Kathryne George, who were married on Dec. 8, 2022.
Bishop Golka’s homily applied the Sunday readings to the ways marriage is God’s will for couples, and emphasized how important marriage is in our world today.
“This is a very joyful day and my heart is full to see so many of you who desire to be part of this Mass today.
“God created us for communion. That’s why at every Mass we receive Communion — we receive our identity and our destiny — that is to be in union with God forever. That’s why God made us. God wants us to be praying in the middle of the trinity for all of eternity. One of the best images we have of that is the day of your wedding . . . you stood up here and gave yourselves to each other; you received each other; you made promises to each other; and in doing all of that your identity changed. Now you became one body, husband and wife, grafted together by Jesus Christ.
“You literally learn how to live like Jesus, just like the second reading, when it says to take on the mind and the heart of Jesus. When you do that, you learn to give yourself away, not resentfully, which can happen, but in our best moments we do it lovingly and willingly. We sacrifice to one another out of love. And we are happy to do it.”
From the day’s first reading, Bishop Golka exhorted couples to pray the same prayer as Solomon: “Help me to make wise decisions. Help me to know what to do.”
Citing the example of his parents, Robert and Patricia, Bishop Golka explained how their prayer changed over their 65 years together.
While earlier in their marriage they prayed for their (ten) children’s health and success, later on in their marriage, “They simply prayed, ‘Lord help us know the right thing to do,’” Bishop Golka said. “It’s a good prayer. I’d ask you to pray the prayer of Solomon today, ‘Lord, help me to know what’s right, for me, for our marriage, for our family.’ If every couple would begin to ask that, our diocese would change in a day. If every couple in the world would ask that, our world would change in a day. ‘God what do you want, show me the right thing to do.’”
In the day’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the man who finds the pearl of great price and who sells everything he has to buy that pearl.
Bishop Golka compared that to a man and a woman who find each other and will give anything to have that person in their life forever, but also to how God has given everything to find us.
“Our faith is story is about God who is looking for us. That’s why Jesus came down from heaven, to be utterly one with us . . . If faith is God looking for me, then I put myself in the place where I could be found. The very best place to do that is right here at Mass, so continue to do that. God will find you here; give you whatever you need.
“God is the one who’s relentlessly looking for us. God will do anything to purchase us. So, please look at Jesus on the cross above our altar, he’s our model. God will do anything to have you. God is relentless to be married to you and to me and to us. That communion and identity changes us, gives us great security, gives us direction of our life because we know our identity and our destiny, and we know the price that was paid for us.”
Bishop Golka ended by asking couples to pray for others.
“Call to mind those marriages that need help; those people you know who are suffering from separation or divorce; those people who’ve been wounded; or maybe, a young couple preparing to get married. Your presence here at this mass, your intention for them, could help change them and change the world. Our society desperately needs the sacrament of marriage. Please be a happy and involved Catholic. Please continue to beg God to help your marriage. That brings God great joy, because he gets to find you, again.”
(Linda Oppelt is administrative assistant for The Colorado Catholic Herald.)