Bishop Kemme: Married couples are witnesses of God’s unfailing love

Sharon Witzell pins a boutonnière on David Beutel, a member of Church of the Magdalen Parish in Wichita, before the 52nd Annual Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass. It was celebrated Sunday, Oct. 8, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Beutel and his wife, Lilia, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary this year. Witzell is the program coordinator for Senior Adult Ministries. The Mass is sponsored by the Office of Marriage and Family Life. (Advance photo)


Bishop Carl A. Kemme described the couples attending the 52nd Annual Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass as living witnesses of God’s unfailing love.

“In this Mass, we ask God to continue to bless you, dear married people, with good health, with even greater happiness, and the desire to love and cherish each other until God calls you home,” he said.

About 230 take part

Eighty couples and 150 guests participated in the event on Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. A Renewal of Commitment and a Blessing of Rings was a part of the liturgy.

Bishop Kemme said he was delighted that he had celebrated and presided over 10 of the anniversary Masses and God-willing will preside over many more.

Referring to the Gospel reading about the landowner who planted a vineyard, the bishop said the landowner did so “with the hope and expectation that it would flourish in a way that would produce the greatest fruit.”

Marriage: a vineyard

Marriage in the Christian tradition is very much like a vineyard, he said.
“It takes great work to bear great fruit. Marriage doesn’t just happen on its own. It is a gift, but with it comes a great responsibility, a great need to work hard, and to cooperate with God’s grace for love to flourish and bear the fruit it was intended by the giver. No one knows this better than yourselves, for even if you have been married a few years or many years, you all know that what you promised on the day of your wedding is not easy.”

The bishop said many in the world would consider what the couples have chosen to do under God’s inspiration as laughable at best and impossible at worst.

“Many have tried but have abandoned the path. Many live in loveless marriages because they are unwilling or incapable of choosing the good for the other. Many live their married lives according to the world’s standards and not according to God’s.

Many marriages suffer

“All of this renders the vineyard that is their marriage overgrown, even abandoned, full of weeds and thistles, and bearing little if any fruit. This is sadly the state of many marriages in the world today.”

But you are here, Bishop Kemme said to the honored couples, to give thanks for the love that has deepened in their marriages. “You are here today because you have enjoyed the abundance of fruit that has resulted in your working hard and cooperating with God’s plan for you and your spouse. You have not taken your eye off your promises and commitments, your vows made to each other, but have kept them ever so faithfully and lovingly for all these many years. You have not listened to our selfish and narcissistic culture with its tempting messages that none of this is possible and none of this is worthwhile.”

Think of truth, honor

Instead, the bishop said, referring to the second reading, the couples attending did what St. Paul urged the Philippians to do. “To think of whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious.”

Quoting St. Paul, the bishop urged the couples to “keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in those who have gone before you and done what you are now doing…keep tending and tilling and pruning and taking good care of the vineyard of the Lord that is your marriage. You have already produced a lot of good fruit, but there is no doubt much more to come.”

Give back to God

Bishop Kemme closed his homily by telling the couples that, someday, they will offer it back to God, “for he has chosen you to be a tenant, a steward of his vineyard that is your marriage.”
Cake and punch was served at a reception after the Mass in Good Shepherd Hall.