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Couples Celebrate Gift of Christian Marriage

From Portland Diocese

LEWISTON – Asking God to look with kindness on them, to renew their marriage covenant, and to increase his love in them, Bishop Robert Deeley blessed husbands and wives who came together for the annual Silver & Gold Mass in Lewiston.

More than 50 couples attended the Mass on Saturday, June 19, at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, including one couple who had been married 70 years, and many others who had been married 50 years or more.

“These milestone anniversaries speak to us of the enduring power and strength of married love,” Bishop Deeley told the assembly on Saturday. “In our gathering in prayer today, we lift each of you, and all married couples, up to our loving God, asking him, who is love itself, to help you to grow in love with each other, even as the years pile up, something you well know is not only possible but part of the beauty of marriage.”

The Silver & Gold Mass is a celebration of the gift of Christian marriage which establishes a holy covenant among a man, a woman, and God himself. The bishop said it is important to celebrate marriage because it is the relationship of a man and a woman, as husband and wife, that gives rise to new life.

Many of the more than 50 couples at the Silver & Gold Mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in June have been married more than 50 years. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese)

“It is, as such, the place where family is born, where life is nourished, where love is taught,” he said. “It is, in addition, the place where God becomes known. In the experience of love, we come to know there is a source of all love, and that is God. All of that we find in Christian marriage, the foundation of our Church, of our society, our nation, and, indeed, of our culture.”

The couples who gathered at the basilica say having God in their lives has been an invaluable part of their marriages, seeing them through both good times and bad.

“It’s everything,” said Muguette Moulin of Auburn, who has been married to her husband, Tom, for 52 years.

“It is. It’s everything,” agreed Tom. “I just can’t imagine not having faith. I think they’re so lost, the people who don’t have it.”

“If we didn’t have our faith, I don’t know if we would still be together, because our faith got us through a lot of things,” said Clare Sargent of Sanford, who has been married to her husband, Ray, for 51 years.

“It’s just a part of us,” added Ray.

“Definitely our faith,” said Joann Finn of Bath, pointing to it as the key to the 50 golden years she has spent with her husband, Jim. “There are always problems that come up, and it’s just knowing that’s where we can draw strength from.”

Jim says he believes it was God who brought him and Joann together, describing it as divine intervention.

The two met at the Sand Bar in Old Orchard Beach, where they had both gone to hang out with friends. Jim says a beautiful girl caught his eye, and he decided to ask her to dance. She accepted his invitation.

“This tall, dark, handsome guy came up and asked me to dance, so that was the beginning of it,” said Joann.

Joann says that as they talked, they found out they had a lot in common, including both being part Irish and both being Catholic. “It was just a perfect match,” she said. They married just three months later.

Over 50 couples celebrated the Gift of Christian Marriage at the Silver & Gold Mass in Lewiston in June. (Photo courtesy of Portland Diocese)

When asked about Joann’s best qualities, Jim cites her patience, while, for her part, Joann fondly remembers the way Jim always loved to play with their four children when they were young. “He would be busy outside playing baseball in the yard. The neighbors would come over. We always had a baseball game going on,” she said.

The Finns say it was always important to them to set a positive example for their children, especially in their faith, which grew through the years as they got more involved in the church. The couple especially credits supportive priests such as Fr. R. Michael McGarrigle, now deceased, who served at St. Mary Church in Bath. “Father Mike allowed us to grow in our faith and allowed us to try things. He was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging all the time,” said Jim. “Our faith really developed with our involvement.”

They say the priests at St. Mary were also instrumental in helping their youngest son, Patrick, discover his vocational call. In 2018, the Finns celebrated his ordination to the priesthood. Now a parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, Fr. Finn was one of the concelebrants of the Silver & Gold Mass.

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