Bishop Kemme: God uses marriage and family to bring about grace in the world

Bishop Carl A. Kemme speaks to a couple who attended the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass Sunday, Oct. 9, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Ninety couples took part in the annual event sponsored by the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life. (Photo courtesy Ryan Wilgers)

The blessings of marriage are considerable, but so are the responsibilities associated with matrimony, Bishop Carl A. Kemme told 90 couples at the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

“That is why you must, as I must and all our priests must, pray daily for the strength to renew your commitment and to allow God to work through you as his instruments, as his servants,” he said. “You see, God is using your marriage and your family to bring about grace in this world, just as he is using my vocation and that of our priests to do the same.”

Marriage is stewardship

Marriage is the primary means couples are called to be stewards of the rich blessings entrusted to them, the bishop said.
“Never forget that in the stewardship of your marriage, as husbands and wives loving each other with Christ-like love and loving, parenting children and grandchildren, you are serving as a grateful disciple, who recognizes God’s gifts and shares these gifts with God and with neighbor.”

Where does one find the energy, the strength, the passion for such stewardship? Bishop Kemme asked.

“It is right here in the Eucharist, where we gather, hopefully, all of us every Sunday, and many of us every day to hear the Word of God and to worship and praise God, as well as receive him in Holy Communion. It is here that we come to know ourselves most as stewards of God’s manifold gifts and blessings, and it is here that we hear and acknowledge our mission in this world, to be the Lord’s faithful disciples, sent out on a mission with him to live the vocations God has given to each of us.”

Embrace the Eucharist

Bishop Kemme urged the couples to make the Eucharist the bedrock of their lives, their marriages, and their families. “I sense that most if not all of you have already done so. Never abandon a Eucharistic life, for it we draw supernatural strength to do what on our own we simply cannot.”

He opened the Mass by reminding those attending about October being Respect Life Month, calling to mind the birth of Jesus and how our lives are God’s first gift. “This life, so under attack, commands that we respect it and protect it from the first moment of conception, when life truly begins.”

Don’t forget the ill

Bishop Kemme said the month is also a time to reflect on the life of the sick, as was done earlier in the day during the White Mass celebrated for those in the healthcare profession.

“We were encouraged to pray for the sick and to be mindful of them in our daily lives, just as Jesus was in his earthly ministry – and rightly so. We draw our thoughts and prayers now to you, who have embraced the life of marriage and family, hearing the call of God to leave father and mother and to be joined together as husband and wife in the unbreakable bond of marriage, and from that bond to bring forth into this world new life, if it so be God’s will for you, hearing the Lord say, be fertile and multiply and joining God then as a co-creator of new life, bringing new members to the family of God, we call the church.”

Bishop gives thanks

The bishop thanked the couples for their commitment to the sacrament of Matrimony and their children and grandchildren.

“Living out these vows as you have done and continue to do, is no small and insignificant matter, given the world in which we live today and the increasingly secular understanding of the nature of marriage, its permanence, the necessity of one being faithful and true, and the openness to new life as God so intends. These realities make this commitment so radical but ever so vital for the welfare of the human family and the flourishing of the church.”

Those attending the Mass had been married for a total of 3,323 years with one couple celebrating 69 years of marriage, he said, thanking God for calling them to the life-giving Sacrament of Marriage and wishing them many more years of a happy, healthy, and holy married life.

A reception was held afterward in Good Shepherd Hall.