By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

Continuing an archdiocesan tradition tracing back to 1978, Cardinal Justin Rigali will celebrate two Masses on Sunday, May 15 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul for couples who have been married at least 25 years.

At 11 a.m. the Cardinal will celebrate Mass for couples from Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties who are married 50 or more years. At 2:30 p.m. he will celebrate Mass for couples from Bucks, Chester and Delaware Counties who are married 50 or more years as well as couples from all five counties who are married 25 years or more.

The Cardinal traditionally greets the couples at the entrance of the Cathedral after the Mass, and those who want to have a picture taken with him should bring a camera, advises Tara Plymouth, an administrator with the archdiocesan Family Life Office, which coordinates the annual Masses. The Masses were first begun as an initiative of the Marriage Encounter program and the Family Life Office. {{more}}

“This is a beautiful way of giving thanks to God for His blessings on one’s marriage and family,” Plymouth said. “It’s a joyful and prayerful celebration and tribute to families and the sacrament of marriage.”

Families of the married couples are also invited to attend, according to Plymouth, who estimates there will be approximately 700 people at each Mass.

There is no reserved seating for the Masses, so those who want to sit near the front of the Cathedral should arrive early, Plymouth advised. The Cathedral is wheelchair accessible via a ramp on the parking lot side of the Cathedral. If further assistance is needed because of disabilities, contact the Family Life Office at 215-587-3516.

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