Cardinal DiNardo honors almost 200 marriages at 50th Annual Wedding Anniversary Mass

January 12, 2016

HOUSTON — For Robert and Donna Stokes it was love at first sight when they met more than 50 years ago while standing in a cafeteria line at the University of Houston. Ten months later, they were married at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Galveston. 

On Dec. 20, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo honored the Stokes and almost 200 other couples at the Archdiocese’s Annual 50th Wedding Anniversary Mass. During the Mass the couples had the opportunity to renew their wedding vows with their children, grandchildren and other family members at their sides. 

“Participating in this Mass and being honored by Cardinal DiNardo is a significant way to mark our 50th wedding anniversary,” said Robert Stokes. “It is our way to acknowledge God and our Church’s blessings of grace which have helped us through the last 50 years.” 
His wife, Donna Stokes, agrees.

“What keeps us committed to our marriage is trying to remember that God has a plan, we must trust in the bigger picture and try to work together as a team, which is not always easy,’ said Donna Stokes. “We also try to have a light heart and a sense of humor and not take everything so seriously.”

Robert Stokes added, “Our faith in God, our attendance at Mass, worshipping together and our participation in parish life have been paramount to our journey as a married couple.”

Deacon Arturo Monterrubio, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Family Life Ministry, said he enjoys being part of this yearly celebration.
“Seeing so many couples gather to celebrate 50 years of marriage is a powerful witness to the permanence of marriage, and even more so to the wonderful grace of God,” he said. “Despite experiencing issues and difficulties in their marriages, as every couple has, they have decided to continue by holding steadfastly to Christ, who has helped them to get to this point. They come together to celebrate their successes and renew their commitment to continue ‘until death do us part.’” 

Pope Francis recently said of married life, “Promising love forever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love.” The Stokes and all the couples who participated in Sunday’s Mass truly demonstrated the Holy Father’s words.

“These couples are witnesses of God’s ever-abiding grace. Each year more and more couples attend this Archdiocesan-wide celebration to thank God for the gift of so many years of marriage. They are life-giving examples to our community, and should be recognized as such,” Deacon Monterrubio said.