On Saturday 8th June Cardinal Vincent celebrated the Annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Matrimony at Westminster Cathedral with 630 couples marking significant wedding anniversaries. In his welcome address Cardinal Nichols asked the couples to reflect on the ways in which the Lord has been active in their marriage and to rekindle that sense of joy that marked their wedding day and life together. Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and it was certainly very evident on this day as it filled the cathedral and spread outwards to the piazza beyond. The cathedral was filled with smiling faces, mutual joy and shared happiness, qualities much needed by the world.
In his homily Cardinal Vincent expressed his personal gratitude to the couples for their daily witness to the vocation for marriage. He highlighted how this celebration 'is also a witness, a powerful sign of the resilient faith and love found in Christian marriage'. The Cardinal contrasted the witness that marriage brings to society with a public culture that prefers to sing about individual freedom that often means turning away from others. The Cardinal thanked the couples for the quiet way in which they bear witness to the deeper freedom and truths of their very nature that marriage brings. In particular, service above self; the hard graft of faithfulness above self-sufficiency and the ways in which they grow as a married couple by exposing their vulnerabilities to another.
Of the 630 couples present, around a quarter were celebrating anniversaries of 50 years plus, and one couple was celebrating 71 years of marriage.