July 16, 2024

“I am thankful God gave us the sacrament of marriage that helped us sustain our faithfulness as Christian husband and wife. Today, counting from the day we got married in church, we are here as a Christian couple to thank God.”

Auntie Rita Bang-i delivered these message during her speech after the renewal of their marriage vows with uncle Gilbert. People were deeply touched and were led to ponder about the sacrality of Christian marriage.

Sixty years of faithfulness is their gift to one another as Christian couple. Uncle Gilbert is 80 years old, a biblical age while auntie Rita is 75, a diamond age.

The couple celebrated their 60th fruitful and faithful years on Oct. 8 at the Church of Lourdes, Kisad Road, Baguio City. The couple comes from Tetepan, Sagada, Mountain Province but resided in Baguio City for greener pasture and indeed, they were able to achieve it.

Despite the urban setting, auntie Rita and uncle Gilbert remained active churchgoers.

Uncle Gilbert was baptized with age but it did not hamper him to actively participate in church and to become a member of the Knights of Columbus,while auntie Rita is involved in many church activities and ministries especially visiting the sick and being with bereaved families.

Their faithfulness to the Lord testified by their church involvement is the strength of their faithfulness as husband and wife.

Given the chance to deliver a message in the church, auntie Rita has inspired everyone because of her witnessing as a faithful wife and a responsible mother with eight successful children.

The couple invited me to preside the mass for their 60th anniversary. I was filled with joy and loaded with deep reflections on true love and true faith. I was so thankful to be a participant in their celebration of amazing grace. As their priest and friend, I happily accepted the thoughtfulness.

The church was full of joy and beautiful people to consider the ethnic attires and the color-coded dress of the children, grandchildren and friends. It was a superb celebration of families, faith, married life, and friendship.

I delivered my homily in Kankana-ey, Bontoc, and Iloco to accommodate everyone in the celebration. The music ministry too was a happy surprise to me because they sang the liturgy in Kankana-ey. It was indeed a celebration of culture in the city.

The couple is blessed with quality age, faithful and fruitful marriage, beautiful and successful children, lovely and promising grandchildren. Indeed, family is the best wealth.

Auntie Rita reiterated faithfulness to God through service to fellowmen and services to the church will sustain marriage in the midst of materialism. “We must not forget to thank God for the blessings. We must always find time for Him. That is why we are all here to thank Him again with joy. We praise and glorify him.”

The reception at Crown Legacy Hotel also revealed how the couple is deeply loved by their children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends.

The program was impressive and indeed an eye opener for every family.

Auntie Rita reiterated the importance of God in the family to sustain faithfulness, love, and peace amidst the odds of life. More people were gathered to hear the success story of the couple.

I rest my strong conviction to the 60 years of blessed married life of uncle Gilbert and auntie Rita that legalizing divorce is never a solution to marital problems. The couple will prove that faithfulness to God will sustain the faithfulness of the couple.

I salute the family of uncle Gilbert and auntie Rita.

I am happier to celebrate wedding anniversaries especially this kind – 60th. It deserves to be celebrated well and to be commended highly.

The difference of presiding marriage rites from marriage anniversaries is there is fear and joy.

When I preside a wedding, I am bothered by the question, “Will they be faithful as husband and wife?” In marriage anniversaries, “Yes, we celebrate faithfulness. It is pure joy without fear.”

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