Couples display blessed vocation at marriage celebration

CHAPIN—Edwin and Denise Beloski are a living example of how love and faith can keep a marriage going, even through the hardest of times.

They have been married for 56 years, changed careers several times, and were forced to move back to Columbia last year after their home near Gatlinburg, Tenn., burned in the devastating forest fires that scorched the area in December 2016.

The couple lost everything and now live with family, but none of the stress showed on their smiling faces at the annual Marriage Anniversary Celebration held Feb. 12 at Our Lady of the Lake Church.

“We got here through faith and trust in God, because we have been through many turmoils,” Mrs. Beloski said. “You can get through anything if you love each other and if you rely on God.”

The Beloskis’ moving story of love and commitment was just one of the many examples of a strong marriage on display.

They joined hundreds of others at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone. He led the couples in renewing their vows, blessed them, and in his homily praised them for being living examples of the beauty of marriage.

“Our history is full of saints who have gone beyond what is required by God in lives of holiness, and many of you have gone beyond what is required to make your marriage last,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “You know forgiveness is a necessity. You affirm and sustain each other. In a society where commitment isn’t considered important anymore, you are a witness to the value of marriage, to the fact that God has called us to make a difference.”

All photos by Christina Lee Knauss/Miscellany: Richard and Dharshika Iruthayanathan, of St. Philip Neri Church in Fort Mill, present the offertory gifts at the Mass.

The celebration drew more than 150 couples who represented more than 3,000 years of married life, said Kathy Schmugge, director of the diocesan Family Life Office, which sponsors the event.

Bishop Guglielmone asked the couples how long they had been married, and discovered that more than five had been married longer than 60 years.

William and Joan Tefs, members of St. John Neumann Church in Columbia, were one of the couples with the longest marriage. They have been together for 65 years.

“I joke and tell everybody that the key to staying together is just to say ‘yes, honey, whatever you say,’” said Mr. Tefs with a laugh. “Seriously, though, the real key to marriage is to go through the good times and the hard times together. You need to be patient with each other and talk things out.”

Frank and Anna Marie Stefanick, members of St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton, came to the event to celebrate their milestone 50th anniversary.

“It’s unbelievable that the time has flown by so fast,” Mrs. Stefanick said. “I would tell others if they want marriage to last that they should focus on commitment and make sure they pray together. Praying together is one of the most important things you can do.”

Momoh and Hannah Foh, of Columbia, attended the celebration with their two sons. They have been married 25 years and started attending St. Peter Church after they immigrated to the United States several years ago from Sierra Leone.

Mr. Foh said they make their marriage succeed through love and communication, and by keeping up an element of romance and fun, even when life gets busy.

“We still try to get out and do some of the romantic things we did when we were still dating,” he said. “We have date night every week. It’s important.”

Mrs. Foh said forgiveness is crucial in every marriage, and urges couples to pray together with their family as often as possible.


Photos by Christina Lee Knauss/Miscellany

Top photo: Jerry and Dawn Mortus (front left), of Chapin, hold hands during the blessing of marriages.

To see more photos or to purchase a photo for personal use, visit our gallery on Smugmug.