By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

PHILADELPHIA – It was perhaps a happy coincidence that May 2, the fifth Sunday of Easter, was chosen for the annual archdiocesan celebration of Masses for Wedding Anniversaries at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, and it wasn’t just because May is a very popular wedding month. The readings were spot on.

In the Gospel from John, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

It was a perfect lesson for couples in loving marriages of 25 or 50 years or more.

The other readings were just as apt, and in his homily Cardinal Rigali began by comparing marriage to Paul’s journeys as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

“It is a long journey you have taken together and you are still journeying until death do you part,” he told the couples.

The journey “is likewise a journey and a witness to others, a beautiful witness,” he said. “It is both a witness to your love for one another and to Christ’s love in your marriage,” he said.

The first of two Masses was celebrated at 11 a.m. for couples from Philadelphia or Montgomery County married 50 years or more. The second, at 2:30 p.m., was celebrated for couples from Bucks, Chester and Delaware Counties married 50 years or more or couples married 25 years from any county.

Some were, indeed, married much longer than 50 years (see profile of Al and Mary Hindel, married 65 years, on page 28).

Louis and Regina Lozzi of St. Gabriel Parish in South Philadelphia have been sharing bliss for 50 years.

“We hung out together, stuck together, got through everything together. We have four children and nine grandchildren. We have a nice family,” Louis said. ‘We came here for the Mass 25 years ago and we are glad to be back.”

Their secret for a successful marriage?

“He listens to me,” Regina said. On a more serious note she added, “The most important things for a marriage to stay together are communication, love and trust. We trust each other and he is my friend.”

Diane and Anthony Rullo of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Hilltown, who have two children, marked 25 years on April 26.

The secret of marriage for them is “humor and compromise,” Diane said. As to how they celebrated their anniversary, “We went out to dinner and had humor and compromise,” Anthony said.

Drs. Russell Reiss and Rosemarie Reiss, both pediatricians, have been married 51 years.

“When we got married we made a pact to go out twice a week. I go out Friday night she goes out Tuesday night,” Russell joked.

Their parish is St. Genevieve in Flourtown, but they make a practice of attending the 6:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Luke in Glenside, which makes sense because St. Luke is the patron of physicians.

Their secret? “I feed him very well,” said Rosemarie, whose birth name was Maria Rosa Curcillo. “His Irish-German and my Italian have blended very well.”

Both liturgies included a blessing by the Cardinal, who in his prayer to God, said, “Amid the joys and struggles of their lives, You have preserved the union between them; renew their marriage covenant, increase Your love in them, and strengthen their bond of peace, so that they may always rejoice in the gift of Your blessing.”

To this, the Church said, “Amen.”

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.