At the 2018 Anniversary Blessings Mass celebrated Oct. 7 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., greets Frances and Ben Paolillo of St. Luke Parish, Toms River, who celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Courtesy photo
At the 2018 Anniversary Blessings Mass celebrated Oct. 7 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., greets Frances and Ben Paolillo of St. Luke Parish, Toms River, who celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Courtesy photo

Couples celebrating their first, 25th, 50th or greater anniversaries during the 2019 calendar year are invited to attend one of the annual Bishop’s Anniversary Blessings Masses this fall.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will be the principal celebrant and homilist at two Masses to recognize the milestone marriages of Catholics of the Diocese of Trenton. During each Mass, special prayers, renewal of vows and Bishop’s blessing will be conferred.

Faithful anniversary couples who belong to Ocean and Monmouth County parishes will be honored with a Mass Oct. 6 at 3 p.m. in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold; the Mass for anniversary couples from Burlington and Mercer County parishes will be celebrated Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. A free, light reception will follow each event for all the couples and their guests.

Peg Hensler, diocesan associate director of Marriage Ministry and Natural Family Planning, said the purpose of the Anniversary Blessings Mass is to celebrate the sacred commitment of couples whose love is a living sign of Christ’s love for his Church.

“We celebrate these milestone anniversaries to remind all of us of the importance of Holy Matrimony to the entire Church,” she explained, “but in a particular way, for the faith family of the Diocese of Trenton.”

Anniversary couples are also an important role model for young people who are discerning a vocation to marriage, Hensler noted.

“By celebrating our anniversary couples who represent the laity of our Church, we are thanking them for their commitment to their families and faith communities,” she continued, “but we are also acknowledging the importance of their active participation in our parish communities.

“We celebrate the fact that marriage is the foundation of society and the seed bed of faith,” Hensler affirmed. “Strong marriages make strong parish communities – and they are the source of all vocations, to marriage, to the single life, to the priesthood or religious life.”

Couples must register for the Mass they will attend through their parish; deadline for registration is Sept. 15.

St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral is located at 61 Georgia Road, Freehold. St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral is located at 151 N. Warren St., Trenton.