Over 200 gather for Marriage Celebration in Norwich

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Over 200 gather for Marriage Celebration in Norwich

Over 200 people gathered for the annual Marriage Celebration Mass on Saturday June 1 at St John’s Cathedral in Norwich to celebrate the joy of holy matrimony and significant anniversaries. Antonia Braithwaite reports.

The couple celebrating the longest anniversary were Terry and Rodger Germany (pictured above with Bishop Peter), who were married 64 years ago in Our Lady of the Assumption and the English Martyrs (OLEM) in Cambridge.

In his homily Bishop Peter reflected on the prayer of Tobias from Book of Tobit. On their wedding night Tobias and Sarah pray together for their marriage. Tobias says that he takes Sarah to be his wife “in singleness of heart”.  This is an attitude that all married couples should emulated in their love for one another, said Bishop Peter. The singleness of heart requires a couple to lovingly sacrifice for each other, putting the good of the other first. If both husbands and wives love each other in this way their marriage will be a source of deep love and joy.

On their wedding day couples are asked if they have come to enter into marriage ‘freely and wholeheartedly’ and are prepared to love and honour their spouse for as long as they both shall live. In singleness of heart married couples freely frame their singular autonomy within a commitment to forge a balanced, wholesome and fruitful communion together, continued Bishop Peter. “This communion between a man and a woman forges the bond that confronts and overcomes all selfishness.”

Over the course of the years of marriage we all fall short and will inevitably each do things that hurt our spouse. This singleness of heart, as Bishop Peter reminded married couples, often requires them to ask forgiveness of the other. These moments of asking for, and giving, forgiveness are an indispensable part of a happy and healthy marriage. “Love is sustained by our willingness to reveal sorrow for fault and sin”, said Bishop Peter.

“Jesus Christ reveals the unlimited depths of love, the magnificent endurance of love,” Bishop Peter continued. “Jesus Christ enables us to embrace the sacrifice of love”. Each year of married life that passes demands an ongoing recommitment to that love. In the book of Tobit, Tobias ends his prayer to God with the invocation; “Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me, and bring us to old age together.” This is prayer is surely echoed by all loving married couples as they rejoice in all that is authentic and wonderous in the sharing of a life together.

After the Mass the couples, together with their family and friends, were invited to the Cathedral narthex to enjoy refreshments and cakes baked by the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham.

See below for the full photo gallery. Photos are free to download.

Celebration of Marriage, St John's Cathedral, Norwich, June 2024