A road taken and traveled together

Pamela and Michael Wegeng, members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Wichita, hold up their wedding bands during a Blessing of Rings at the annual Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass Sunday, Oct. 11, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. (Advance photos)

Bishop Kemme blesses couples at annual Wedding Anniversary Mass

Bishop Carl A. Kemme reminded the couples at the annual Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass Sunday, Oct. 11, about Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.”

The poem “evokes great insight into life’s choices and how those choices change the landscape of our futures,” he said during his homily.
Bishop Kemme said the annual Mass is important to him because it shines a light on matrimony, an institution vital for the wellbeing of our culture, the church, and the world.

“And so, as I want and feel compelled to do each year, my very first words to all of you today is thank you! Thank you for celebrating with us a significant milestone in your married life. Thank you for your courage, perseverance, and steadfastness in living out the vows you gave as a gift of self when you promised to love your spouse until death parts you in the life-giving sacrament of Christian marriage.”

Couples are blessings to the world

He told the couples they are blessings to their families, their parishes, to the diocese, to society, the church, and the world.

“We pray for your continued observance and perseverance in this essential union, reflecting the union of Christ to his bride the church and we pray that God willing, with good health, much joy and deep satisfaction you will continue to walk together on this road less traveled until the day you find your journey’s end in God’s kingdom of heaven.”

Bishop Kemme delivered the wedding anniversary homily from his cathedra.

Referring to the first reading, Bishop Kemme reflected on God’s generosity which included rich food and choice wines.

“I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time, but know very little about what makes wine good, except for the fact that wine gets better with age,” he said. “How symbolic this is for Christian marriage. Your marriage, like a good wine, gets better and better with the passing of years.”

Couples should thank God for allowing their vocations to be enhanced over time, Bishop Kemme said. “And so I say, be for us, the choice, pure wine of which Isaiah speaks in today’s first reading.”

Referring to the Gospel reading about the Kingdom of Heaven, the bishop said the king in the story prepares a wedding feast for his son, but the invited guests refuse to come and messengers are mistreated. So, those in the streets are gathered to fill the hall.

‘Dress’ for heaven

“But even as the wedding feast began, the king found someone not properly dressed and had them rather unceremoniously dismissed, for we must see that many are invited, but few are chosen.”

The king’s judgment is perplexing but is important to consider in our journies, Bishop Kemme said.

“Are we among those simply invited to a feast that we could very well ignore or dismiss, or have we been chosen to live the faith in a way that is all in, or put another way, one in which we are fully engaged, fully alive as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ?”

Many are invited to live out their discipleship through marriage,” he said, “but few, it seems, choose to fully engage or complete their commitments by taking the mysterious and challenging road less traveled. You are among those few, chosen for and who have chosen this vocational witness of marriage.”

Looking out at the couples the bishop said they are a witness to God’s love, adorned with the wedding garments of virtue, commitment, dedication.

May God continue to bless you

“You have accepted the invitation to the wedding of the Lamb and are daily participating in that wedding feast by the proper attire of fidelity, permanence, openness to life, mutual respect, and heartfelt love,” the bishop said. “For this, God blesses you abundantly, and may he continue to do so all the days of your life.”

Jesus was a frequent wedding guest and used wedding analogies to relate the Kingdom of God, he said. “You live out this mystery day by day in our midst. Please know of our prayers for you, for the commitment you have made is not easy to keep; the perseverance it requires is a great challenge in a world and culture that wants everything immediately and is not prepared or interested necessarily in long term commitments.”

God must be pleased with the milestones you have reached, he said.

“How grateful you are today for the untold graces he has extended to you all along the road, this road less traveled, this road taken that has made for you and those like you, all the difference,” he said. “Happy anniversary and may God continue to walk with you on your journey to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Sixty-five couples registered for the socially-distanced event. They were given cupcakes and roses after the Mass.