The diocese holds an annual wedding celebration

Friday, February 18, 2022

IC photo/Marie Mischel

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Mike and Laura Richards exchange the sign of peace during Mass for the Celebration and Enrichment of the Diocesan Marriage, which took place Feb. 11 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

By Marie Mischel

Intermountain Catholic

HOLLADAY — On the Friday before Valentine’s Day, dozens of couples gathered at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Holladay for the annual Diocesan Marriage Celebration and Enrichment.

The event began with a Mass presided by Bishop Oscar A. Solis; concelebrating was the parish priest, Father John Norman. The unions of the 41 couples who signed up for the event ranged from Magdalen Cathedral parishioners Joseph and Christine Pace, who wed three weeks ago, to St. Vincent de Paul parishioners John and Taffy Hale who will celebrate 55 years of marriage in June.

“As married couples, the unity and devotion you share are tangible signs of the love that exists between Christ and his Church,” Bishop Solis said in his welcome address. He noted that the event “focused on building a culture of life and love, and we do that by supporting couples, their marriages and families.”

Married couples are not only witnesses to the teachings of the Church in today’s culture, which tends to reject these values, but they are also “beacons of the holiness and unity of marriage”. he said in his homily.

The event was a time of celebration, for the couples to renew their wedding vows and to remember what it means to be married “so that you may continue to be a beacon of life and hope for our society and for the world,” the bishop said. .

Marriage is “not just a noble undertaking but a sacred calling, a path to joy and happiness in this world, a calling to be a saint,” he added.

Couples are martyrs, not in the sense of dying for the faith, but rather because “as martyrs, Christian couples are joyful witnesses to God’s presence and love in the world. …May your marriage always bless our world, our society and your family,” Bishop Solis said.

Laura and Mike Richards, parishioners of St. Mary’s in West Haven, said they enjoyed the bishop’s homily, especially the statement that they are “beacons of light,” the couple said.

Laura Richards also said she drew strength from the homily.

After mass, the couples moved from the church to the parish social hall, where they toasted each other and then heard a marriage enrichment presentation by Deacon Scott and Holly Dodge.

The Dodges, which will celebrate their 29th anniversary this year, have six children, ages 11 to 28. They met at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center when they were both attending the University of Utah.

Deacon Dodge was ordained in 2004 and served at Madeline Cathedral until 2015 when he was transferred to his home parish of St. Olaf in Bountiful, where Holly serves as music director and liturgical committee chair. parish.

Deacon Dodge is also director of the Diocesan Office of the Diaconate.

As they opened their presentation, Holly Dodge said, “I think I can safely say that this isn’t going to be a conference that can answer all of your questions about how to have a perfect marriage because we don’t We’re not wedding experts and we don’t have a perfect or simple wedding.

Nonetheless, the couple shared some of the insights they learned during their married years in the Church. They used the fruits of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary as a guide in their presentation.

The fruit of the first joyful mystery, the Annunciation, is humility, which is an important trait in a marriage, Deacon Dodge said, because the union of husband and wife requires mutual trust as well as faith in each other. God.

He spent some time discussing Ephesians 5:21-32, noting that the focus of this section should be the first verse, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

In this passage, St. Paul was using marriage as an analogy for Christ’s relationship to the Church, but Deacon Scott noted that Paul recognized that his comparison was insufficient, “as words always do when trying to describe the mystery of God”.

Nevertheless, “people should see a married Catholic couple and see the love they have for each other and remember the love of Christ and, in a more particular way, the love of Christ for his Church,” the deacon said.

The book of Genesis states that man and woman were created in the image and likeness of God, which shows “there is a fundamental equality between spouses, and that is a really important concept “said the deacon.

The couple also touched on natural family planning, which they acknowledged isn’t always easy to talk about. Nonetheless, Holly Dodge said she thought it was an important issue to discuss in a presentation on Catholic marriage.

Church teaching that the life-giving role is intrinsic to marriage was sometimes difficult to follow, she said, but over time she came to see that NFP “was infinitely more wise” than she originally planned, she said. “I felt more respected and loved” through NFP, and the process taught them to be more loving and open to what God had for them, as well as offering lessons in humility and patience, a she declared.

The biggest struggle the couple has faced over the years is following Jesus’ example of emptying themselves, Holly said. In addition to working on their marriage and family together, they each pursued their own interests, which was both a source of friction and growth, she said.

Moments of friction are when one discovers the fruit of the fourth joyful mystery, which is the joy of finding Jesus, Deacon Dodge said. “It is truly in the cracks and crevices of marriage, it is in the recognition of your poverty that Jesus truly stands.”

He concluded with some advice on what is needed to make a lifelong marriage: “Praying together is important,” he said, as is communication, cooperation, and a willingness to both ask for forgiveness and to to forgive.

Among those present at the Dodges’ presentation were newlyweds Joseph and Christine Pace.

It’s important to witness such things together, said Joseph Pace, and Christine Pace explained that they both talked about the importance of continuously working on their marriage.

Plus, “it’s important to do things with our Catholic faith as well,” she said, as her husband nodded in approval.

John and Taffy Hale laughed when asked if, more than five decades after they were married and after teaching Engaged Encounter, they knew everything about marriage. For them, the social aspect of the event was as important as the talks, they said; they also brought another couple to attend. John Hale said he appreciated Bishop Solis’ behavior; there were several moments in his homily where the bishop used humor and made those seated in the pews laugh, even as he spoke about the Church’s teaching on marriage and explained the meaning Gospel readings.

“It’s nice to see someone higher up in the Church who is a human first and still loves Christ like we do,” John Hale said.

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