FLORENCE—They stood, holding hands, looking into each other’s faces and smiling. She put her hand on his cheek and stood on tiptoe to give him two quick pecks.
It was heartwarming to watch Larry and Minnie Barnes, and over 300 other couples have their marriages blessed during the 11th annual diocesan wedding celebration held Feb. 13 at St. Anthony Church.
The couples ranged in age from 20- to 90-somethings and they received some good advice from their bishop.
“If you are only meeting the minimum requirements for your marriage, you need to do more,” Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said.
The Gospel that day was the Sermon on the Mount from St. Matthew which summarized the 10 Commandments.
“The theme of the Gospel is very clear,” the bishop said. “Jesus is saying don’t settle for the minimum requirements. Obeying the commandments is the bare minimum if we are going to call ourselves followers of Christ.”
In celebrating the sacrament of matrimony, the husbands and wives were reminded of what their minimum requirements were — their vows. Those promises are to be true in good times and bad, to love and honor one another for life, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, until death do you part.
Beyond that comes the daily affirmation, encouragement, support, understanding and generally building up family life, Bishop Guglielmone said.
“The old cliche is true,” he said, “the best thing fathers and mothers can do for your children is to love each other. Show that love to each other and go beyond the basic minimum.”
For Catholics, marriage is beyond a contract, it is a sacrament and should be treated as such.
“It is the grace of God that is represented in a unique and sacred way,” Bishop Guglielmone said.
He referred to a line from the musical “Les Miserables.” As the main character died, he said to his ward, “to love another person is to see the face of God.”
“That is so applicable when we deal with the sacrament of marriage,” the bishop said. “As far as God is concerned there really is no maximum to love. This love affects children and others in the community and by looking at one another in love they can see the face of God.”
Bishop Guglielmone encouraged couples to ask their parish priest to bless their marriage on a major anniversary during a regular Mass, if he can.
“Young people need to see that it is indeed possible,” he said.
Mike and Marie Munoz of Goose Creek, pictured above, are one of those couples setting a good example for future generations. They were nominated for the Longest Married Couple Project sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Out of 312 nominations from the nation, they won the honor for South Carolina
While the Munoz’s are not the longest married couple in the state, they can boast 66 years of marriage.
They are members of Immaculate Conception Church and received the honor on Feb. 11. The Munozes were given a blessing by Adorno Father Nicholas Capetola in the presence of family and friends.