Cardinal DiNardo to wedding jubilees: ‘God has blessed you’

October 11, 2022

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, at center, greets a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary after a special Mass in the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Sept. 25. (Photo by James Ramos/Herald)

HOUSTON — Linda and Hiett Ives first met at the active singles club of St. Anne Catholic Church on Westheimer in the late 1960s. They enjoyed weekly volleyball games and occasional group trips to ski in Vail and a weekend in New Orleans.

Romances kindled, and by 1972, some 24 of these “singles” married each other and could no longer meet under the umbrella of the singles club, Mr. Ives said.

“So we started the St. Anne’s Double Ring Club and enjoyed Saturday night dinners with each other. As children were added to the mix, Saturday afternoon park parties were included,” he said.

He and his wife celebrated their golden anniversary, and four other couples from that group who married in 1972, along with hundreds of others, at the Archdiocese’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Mass on Sunday, Sept. 25.

“You have been a center and home 50 years of marriage and in two cases, 60 years of marriage,” he said. “All these past years, God has blessed you, has challenged you, and we want to celebrate you today. Thank you for coming from all parts of this local Church. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Sacrament of Marriage.”

He also congratulated the couples, wishing them “a very happy anniversary jubilee.”

Cardinal DiNardo admitted that even though the day’s readings didn’t outright touch on marriage, the Gospel did speak about generosity, which Cardinal DiNardo said “is very, very important an ingredient in the Sacrament of Marriage.”

In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo called encouraged each couple, reminding them of the many challenges and beautiful things in life, such as children, struggles and trials, are “what makes marriage endure.” He said each couple is an example of Christ’s love for His Church, “it is so beautiful.”

“You are already a model... a paradigm,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to live it.”

He encouraged the couples to mentor and share their counsel with younger couples because as more experienced couples, they could bring an authoritativeness that no one else could bring, not even a priest or pastor.

Such advice from a longtime couple is “Patience, patience and more patience topped with love for each other and, above all, remembering to put God first in their lives.”

That sage wisdom came from Rosalina and her husband Loreto Abellera, who met when they were college students in different cities miles apart.

“It was a little embarrassing, but I was a college student living in a dormitory in southern Philippines and wanting to shoo away loneliness by receiving lots of letters,” she said.

She decided to list her name in a national magazine for a pen pal column. Mr. Abellera, an engineering student in Manila at the time, happened to pick up a neighbor’s copy of the magazine and saw her name in the middle of the page among hundreds and decided to write to her.

“So that started our communication — by snail mail! I received dozens of letters from pen pal seekers, but I responded to only a few,” Mrs. Abellera said. “Loreto’s letter was short but impressive, so that started our years of communication.”

He wrote to her about going to chapel daily and praying before studies and work.

“We finally met, in person, at the Manila airport while on my way to pursue graduate studies in Hawaii,” Mrs. Abellera said. “The rest is history!”

They were recently back in the Philippines on vacation but returned to Houston to celebrate their anniversary.

Another joyful couple celebrated their 60th anniversary. Harvey and Ann Oyler met in their mid-teens while at a Catholic high school dance in Seguin.

“But the problem was that he was with my best friend, and I was dating his best friend,” Ann said and chuckled.

The Oylers soon broke off those relationships so they could date each other.

Mr. Oyler, now 80, said, “We’ve been together since our junior year in high school. We’ve been best buddies ever since.”

They married June 30, 1962, in a Catholic church in Seguin, right after high school graduation. Then they moved to Houston, where he worked in the oil and gas industry while she focused on their three children.

“We basically grew up with our kids. For such a long marriage, you need love, be faithful, honest with each other and work out disagreements,” Mr. Oyler said. “I learned to say ‘yes’ a lot.”

The Archdiocese’s Family Life Ministry organized the 50th wedding anniversary as well as the 25th wedding anniversary, which is set for Sunday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. also at the Co-Cathedral.

Prior to the Masses, couples registered with the Archdiocese’s Family Life Ministry and submitted a copy of the wedding certificate issued by the parish of their marriage. Each couple received a rose during the special celebration.

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