February 22, 2019

World Marriage Day Mass highlights how faith keeps couples together

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson gives a gift to Leo and Margaret Hartman on Feb. 10 during the archdiocesan World Marriage Day Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Members of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Indianapolis, the Hartmans have been married for 68 years. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson gives a gift to Leo and Margaret Hartman on Feb. 10 during the archdiocesan World Marriage Day Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Members of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Indianapolis, the Hartmans have been married for 68 years. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Snowy weather may have kept some people from attending the World Marriage Day Mass on Feb. 10 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

But Leo and Margaret Hartman, married for 68 years, braved the elements to gather with other married couples across central and southern Indiana to celebrate God’s gifts of faithfulness and love in the sacrament of marriage.

The 44 couples who registered in advance for the liturgy represented a combined 1,605 years of marriage. They have 137 children, 177 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren.

“As a Church, we must continue to lift up the family and marriage,” said Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, the principal celebrant of the Mass, in closing remarks during the liturgy. “We live in a culture today that doesn’t always appreciate that and doesn’t even always support that.

“So we give thanks for the perseverance that you’ve shown in the covenant marriage, giving your lives completely to one another and to your families and others. What a great witness that you show forth for us.”

The Hartmans, who are members of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove, were the couple at the Mass that had been married for the longest time.

After the liturgy, Margaret had advice for young married couples, saying that they need “a lot of love, a lot of patience, because you’re two separate individuals living together now. You have your own personalities and have to kind of meld those together a little bit.”

She also said the faith that she and Leo share is the foundation of their perseverance in their marriage.

“It’s one of the keystones of your marriage, because if you don’t have faith, you really don’t have anything to back you up,” said Margaret, who is 91. “You have to have faith in God. He knows what he’s doing all the time and guides along the way. Your faith is the most important thing in the world.”

Standing close by the Hartmans after the Mass were Teresa Aguayo and Norberto Trujillo, who were married in Mexico 51 years ago and have been members of St. Patrick Parish in Indianapolis for 23 years.

They agreed putting God at the center of their marriage has been the key to their faithfulness for half of a century.

“It’s a trio,” Norberto said. “It’s God and the couple.”

“Without God, you can’t make it,” Teresa added. “You won’t be able to get through the problems and issues.”

Married only last October, Marty and Susan Arlinghaus of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis were the couple at the Mass who had been married the least amount of time.

They appreciated celebrating the sacrament of marriage with so many couples who have been married for years.

“It’s pretty cool to contribute [at] four months,” Marty said.

“It’s something to work toward, too, hopefully for 60 or 70 years,” said Susan.

Like the couples at the Mass who were old enough to be their grandparents or great-grandparents, Marty and Susan are determined to put faith at the heart of their marriage, especially in the midst of a culture that does not support it.

“We specifically planned our wedding to show that this is God making this union, that it’s God that keeps it together and that it was God who planned it from the beginning,” Marty said. “That’s what our whole witness is. Our marriage should be a sign of Christ’s union with his Church and the union that we’ll have with the Lord for all eternity in heaven.

“So especially in an age that really does not understand that and wants to turn marriage into whatever someone feels like it should be, we really feel like that’s one of our callings as a married couple, to be a joyful witness to what God made it to be.”

Three years ago, Gabriela Ross and her husband Daniel were in the place of the Arlinghauses at the archdiocesan World Marriage Day Mass, having only been married a few months.

Now Gabriela is leading the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family, beginning in that role a month ago.

“I can’t imagine a more joyful start to this ministry,” Ross said, “being able to gather with couples from all over the archdiocese, some that were driving through the snow from more than an hour away to come and celebrate the beauty of marriage and the grace that we have from God to live our vocation.

“A day like today helps to call attention to the vocation of the sacrament of marriage and to all those couples who follow God’s call in their lives, not just to fall in love, but to make love a sacrament, a sign of God’s love in the world.” †

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