by PETER GRACE
Recently married couples and couples married more than 50 years ago were among the congregation at the St Valentine’s Day Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland on February 13.

Front, from left, after the celebration Mass: Gerry and Margaret Smy (married August 8, 1960), Grace and John Middleton (14 November 1964) and, at back, Damian and Abbie Bradly (October 2, 2015).
Front, from left, after the celebration Mass: Gerry and Margaret Smy (married August 8, 1960), Grace and John Middleton (14 November 1964) and, at back, Damian and Abbie Bradly (October 2, 2015).

Cathedral administrator Msgr Bernard Kiely celebrated Mass. Christina Reymer and Rob Powell talked about being married for more than 30 years, and what they had learned in that time. A key word for him, Mr Powell said, was partnership.
They were different but equals in their marriage. Ms Reymer said that for her, social justice, human rights and feminism had always been significant. But the concept of mercy was not something she had seriously considered. However, the Year of Mercy had changed that and she now appreciated the importance of mercy, and how it was closely linked to love.
During Mass, couples who had been married for varying lengths of time — less than 12 months, five years, 10 years and so on — were asked to stand to identify themselves. Those couples marking silver and golden anniversaries this year were also invited to the front to receive a small gift.
They also renewed their marriage vows before the congregation.
Before Communion, a number of couples anointed one another’s hands while praying a blessing, then held the oil while the rest of the congregation came forward to do the same.
Everyone was invited to take a red foil-wrapped heart-shaped chocolate as they left the cathedral.

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