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100 couples celebrate marriage

February 27, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

Ron Thiesen calls his wife Alice “my million-dollar baby I found at the five-and-ten-cent store,” and 45 years after their wedding Alice still laughs when she recalls that she flirted like mad with Ron because she thought he was on his way out of town, back to college.

“He was leaving so I figured what the heck – but he never left,” said Alice. It turned out that Ron was attending Heald’s College of Engineering in San Francisco, just a few miles away from the Corte Madera Woolworth’s where Alice worked. The love of a lifetime, including three children and four grandchildren, was thus begun for the parishioners of Our Lady of Loretto in Novato.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco’s annual wedding anniversary Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral Feb. 22 drew about 100 couples, and some of their friends and family, to celebrate Mass with Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone and attend a reception following.

In his opening remarks at the Mass, Archbishop Cordileone called it “my pleasure, my privilege” to welcome the couples, saying “We give thanks for the love manifested between a man and a wife.”

Married love is spiritual and physical, finding “unique expression” in the marital embrace, the archbishop pointed out in his homily: “So important is the bodily aspect of marriage that Jesus quoted the line that follows when he spoke of God’s intention of marriage from the beginning of creation: ‘That is why a man leaves his mother and his father and clings to his wife and the two of them become one body.’”

Marriage and faith are expressed in “romantic ardor but also … the day to day working of taking care of a house and raising a family,” continuing through the aches and pains of aging together, Archbishop Cordileone said. “There is a simple yet eloquent word that expresses the total gift of yourself that you made of yourselves on your wedding day: sacrifice.”

Quoting a former rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Msgr. Charles Ramm, Archbishop Cordileone said of the sacrifices of marriage: “Only love can make it easy, and perfect love can make it a joy.”

Joel Reynoso and his wife Ana came with a group of friends and children from St. Bruno Parish. Married for 17 years, Joel said, “It is important for us to celebrate our anniversary every year. It is important to be a unit.” Standing in line at the reception to have a memento portrait of themselves photographed, Reynoldo said this was their first time participating in the anniversary Mass, “and we love it.”

Married for 27 years, Joseph and Maria Silmaro came from St. Edward Parish in Newark in the Oakland diocese, with their eighth child, 10-year-old Joannes, who was decked out in a tie and jacket for the day. Their children, all musicians, range from 27 to 10, Maria said. “We love Archbishop Cordileone and we want to support him,” she said. “We need a leader like him. We’ve been waiting for him.”

Church of the Epiphany parishioners Vince Brogan and his wife Erma were the longest-married couple at the event. They met in 1941 when they were 20, at a teen club at Epiphany Parish. They raised five children – three born to them and two foster children they consider their own.

Vince said he and an Irish buddy were going to a local Jewish girls club to meet girls and his Irish friend’s mother wanted her son to marry a Catholic and persuaded the Catholic pastor at Epiphany to start a teen club. Vince met his wife at that teen club, he recalled: “She came walking in and I said to my buddy, ‘that’s the girl I’m going to marry.’”

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