Sunday, September 19, 2010

With the Bishop's Blessing

While this post has to do with the Bishop, it is not about chess, so put your Pawns back to sleep!

When we got home from our recent trip, we found this invitation in the mail. Actually, we had known it was coming, and it was one of the reasons we came home early. For the fourth year in a row, the Bishop of our Tucson Diocese was celebrating a special Mass for people with 25, 50, 55, 60, 65, or 70 year wedding anniversaries! This year, that was us!

We arrived early at St. Augustine's Cathedral, as we have learned that if we don't, there will be some glitch.

There was a glitch anyway! We were to gather in the Cathedral Hall at 1:00pm, an hour before the special Mass at 2:00pm. The only access was up some stairs in front of the church, and down some other stairs into a courtyard. Not exactly true: there was direct access from the church building, but with another Mass in progress, driving Big Red through the church would not have been appropriate.. There could also have been access through any of three gates, all of which were chained and padlocked.

We wandered around outside the courtyard, finally seeing two people inside, whom I immediately hailed. The older of the two, Joe, heard our question, hauled out a bunch of keys, none of which worked on any of the three gates. While Joe went to search out more keys, the other young man, Guillermo, stayed and chatted with us through the narrow gate. (Narrow gate; now there's a biblical reference!)

Guillermo, a member of the cathedral parish's youth group (Los Conquistadores) was very polite, very concerned. He could see that we were tiring in the heat of the afternoon, and decided to search for some wood to make a ramp so we could drive Big Red up the front steps of the cathedral. Within minutes, Guillermo and another lad called across the courtyard. They were carrying a large sheet of plywood and heading to the front steps.

Out front Suzy tried to climb the ramp, but Big Red doesn't do well on steep slopes. Suzy dismounted and I pushed the scooter up the ramp. Success! In all of this, I didn't even think of the camera, otherwise we'd have some good pictures.

From there, we were able to enter the church vestibule and exit immediately into the courtyard. Then we moseyed over to the hall where we were welcomed and registered. After about 10 minutes, Guillermo came to where we were seated and escorted us into the recently emptied church. We were again welcomed and ushered to the front row, where Big Red fit perfectly, and I had a chair where I could easily lean against a big pillar. Again -- no pictures, except this one of the gathering assembly.

This is the Mass booklet we were given, along with a white carnation for Suzy and all the other honored ladies.

At the start of Mass, Bishop Kicanas gave a brief introduction of the event, telling us that 175 couples were being honored this day, with the 50-year group being the most numerous. Although we didn't catch the exact number, the Bishop announced that we represented over 5,600 years of marriage.

The Mass was given special meaning by an excellent choir, and scriptural readings in both English and Spanish. The Bishop donned his mitre (the funny looking hat) for the formal acceptance of gifts from the people -- bread and wine for the eucharistic meal, and cash donations to support the work of the diocese.

Mass continued as normal through the Consecration.

Then there came a special moment as Bishop Kicanas related a story of a couple who had demonstrated their loving marriage commitment through extremely stressful times. He then led all 175 couples through a renewal of wedding vows, at the end of which there was not a dry eye in the group. It was extremely moving, and I for one could not speak aloud all the words that were called for.

Following Mass, each couple was photographed with the Bishop (in his full regalia), given a small gift, and directed back to the hall for a coffee and cake reception. While we enjoyed our cake, Guillermo, such a delightful young man, searched us out just to be sure everything was okay for us. We assured him it was perfect. We were touched that he took such a personal interest in us, people old enough at least to be his grandparents.

We left the reception quickly, as the hall was not air conditioned and was filling with all of us couples and scads of celebretory family members. Out in the courtyard, we met up again with Joe who pointed us to the narrow and now unlocked gate. Before we left, we prevailed upon Joe to take our picture up on this magnificent --- what! bandstand? stage? --- whatever, Suzy drove Big Red and I climbed the few steps.

Joe insisted on taking a couple of closeup shots as well.

The whole affair had started rockily for me. Once we left home, I found I had forgotten to put on my hearing aid, so I knew I'd have trouble hearing. When we arrived and had to park quite a distance from the church and the hall, I found that, in cleaning out the car Saturday, I had not replaced my cane, so walking became more of a challenge. THEN -- as we entered the hall to register, I found that I was wearing my prescription dark glasses, and didn't have my regular glasses with me!

I had to dash back to the car, sans cane, to find the other glasses. No luck! While I was searching the car and the surrounding area, Guillermo showed up to direct me back to the hall by a shorter route. He helped me search the car, but no glasses!

So I celebrated the day with dark glasses, no cane, no hearing aid. Couldn't see well, couldn't hear well, couldn't walk well. Damn! Even our picture with the Bishop will have me in dark glasses.

When the event was over, we drove away. After about three blocks, we heard a clattering noise outside the car, so I pulled over and got out. There in the middle of the street lay my glasses case with the regular glasses safe inside. I guess I had placed it on top of the car when we got out! Then I watched as not one but two cars rolled over the glasses case before I could retrieve it! Oh s##t!

But the good news is that Costco's optical center had given me excellent cases for my glasses. After two cars smashed the case the glasses were unharmed inside it! 

To top off our day, this sunset was in our rearview mirror as we drove home to Benson!

What a fine day in ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. Beautiful church. Amazing that your glasses survived!

  2. Wow, that is one tough glasses case. Probably the same material Clark Kent used to put his glasses in while changing into his Superman suit in the phone booth.

  3. What luck two cars and your glasses were still safe, can't tell you how many policemen left walkie talkies on the roofs of their police cars and drove off letting cars smash them,Glad your story has a happy ending, Donna and I renewed our Vows with a mass at 25, no Bishop, but our favorite priest and family & friends were enough with a nice little dinner following at a nearby Restaurant.Good luck for another 50. be safe out there Sam & Donna.

  4. What a nice celebration for significant anniversaries! And it's great that your glasses weren't harmed by the cars rolling over them.

  5. WOW What a day!!

    Donna Daniel

  6. Congrats on another nice 50th wedding celebration. I'm kind of amazed that you could even hear your glasses case fall off the car onto the road let alone have them undamaged after a few cars ran over them.

  7. What a lovely church, and such nice people to help you...

  8. A day that had some rocky parts ended beautifully for you. Congratulations on the vow renewal and overcoming the obstacles in order to participate. Hooray for unbroken glasses! Your sunset picture tops off the day!

  9. I think "it was meant to be" that you guys were there and made it through all of those obstacles. Perseverance, plain and simple! Congrats on another wonderful celebration for your 50 years together as husband and wife. Glad everything turned out OK....glasses and all!

  10. What am incredible day you had! I'm glad there was a happy ending.

  11. Such an AWESOME testimony of your marriage. Congratulations on renewing your vows and may you both have many more blessed years together. God Bless You Both!!!

    Love In Christ,
    Gina & Rollie

  12. Congratulations on 50 years! We renewed our vows with family and friends when we were at 25 ~ will be 35 this year.

    You should write a note to Costco with a picture of your glasses case - it might make their day to see a satisfied customer.

    So glad to get caught up with you both. We have 4 days left and tear down with the carnival and then will be on to new adventures.


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