Couples call marriage ‘a great ride,’ value support

Sid Hastings

"... and the two of them became one body."

The last words of Genesis 2:18-24 have played out in the lives of countless married couples, including several hundred people who attended the Golden and Silver Wedding Jubilee Mass Sept. 25 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

For Ed and Laurel Leahy of St. Patrick Parish in Wentzville, their 50 years of marriage have been "a great ride so far," Laurel Leahy said after posing with her husband for a photo taken by her daughter-in-law.

"Top-notch" highlights have included raising their two children and seeing their nine grandchildren grow up, Laurel Leahy said. "There have been a lot of laughs and fun together. We've traveled together and shared our lives together," said the semi-retired teacher at her parish school. "I wouldn't give him up and I've had a hard time giving teaching up."

The Leahys were married in Lowville, N.Y., and came to St. Louis 26 years ago after a job transfer. Ed Leahy, retired from IT work at Graybar Electric, said his advice to newly married couples is to keep a sense of humor and always be willing to talk. "Stay on the same team," he said.

His wife's advice is to "Enjoy it, and have fun together. Support each other. I always have him in my corner. We're each other's best friends."

William and Kathleen Bain also were being photographed after the Mass, surrounded by smiling children and grandchildren. He was raised in a Baptist church but became a Catholic when they were married 50 years ago at Annunciation Church in Webster Groves, also their current parish. The Bains have three children and five grandchildren, with a sixth on the way.

William Bain said that he's learned that in marriage, "when you argue, one has to be wrong. ... Halfway through, say 'I was wrong,' and go forth."

His wife's advice to others is to "always love each other and stand by each other, good and bad." William Bain nodded, citing various health issues he's had, such as a knee injury. "Just hang in there," he remarked.

Bain was a buyer for Chevron chemical, then did landscaping before retiring. His wife was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, then did part-time secretarial work before retiring. They have hobbies, did some volunteer work and traveled together.

Mary and Andy Rachelski of St. Joseph Parish in Manchester celebrated their 52 years of marriage and appreciated the words of thanks and encouragement from the Mass celebrant and homilist, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. Mary Rachelski said that in a marriage, "you have to have a servant's heart" and a sense of humor. Her husband added that "we have to honor our differences."

The Rachelskis have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They've been through a job loss and other challenges, staying by each other in sickness and health as the marriage vows state. Now retired, they volunteer in prison ministry. They lamented that people don't seem to place as much value on marriage, especially marriage in the Church, as they did in the past.

In his homily, Archbishop Carlson cited the importance of asking God to bless a couple's relationship and vocation. Jesus, he said, is a couple's source of strength, and he asked husbands and wives to pray for each other.

The divorce rate is way too high, he said, but studies show it is much, much less for those who pray, read Scripture and go to church together.

He referred to the Gospel reading about Lazarus and the rich man who ignored him, explaining that Catholics must always respond to the needs of others. "Reach out to help make the world a better place," he urged the couples and others at the Mass.

The Archbishop said the Church community is better off because of the more than 300 couples who registered for the jubilee Mass, including the longest-married couples, John and Patricia Fechter and Robert and Leona Forbeck, celebrating 72 years of marriage. "We are blessed as a community of faith because of the way you have lived your marriage vows," he said. 

>> Love

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated,

it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails."

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

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