St Francis Xavier Cathedral

“Putting each other first”—Celebrating 70 years of marriage

August 5, 2022

What’s the secret to a happy and lasting marriage? Why not ask Mervyn and Fay Rigney who are celebrating 70 years of marriage and will be honoured at the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong’s annual Marriage Anniversaries Mass this Sunday at St Francis Xavier Cathedral.

During the Mass, Mervyn and Fay, along with 39 other couples, will be invited to renew their marriage vows and receive a commemorative candle. 

This year’s celebration comes just weeks after Pope Francis urged families around the world to “accompany those who are most fragile, who are alone, refugees, abandoned” and to “be couples and families with big hearts!” 

Mervyn said that 74 years after they first met as teenagers, he and Fay continue to find happiness by putting each other first.

“We’ve had our ups and downs but thankfully we’ve had more ups,” he said. “It’s just a matter of give and take, both ways, and always trying to help one another.”

Bishop of Wollongong, Brian Mascord, said the Mass is a much-needed reminder that love and faithfulness endure, even through the tough times.

“Having been apart and separated for so much of the last two and a half years, there has been a real sense of disconnection as we lived through and with this pandemic,” he said. “Through their example, couples like Mervyn and Fay prove that even the most challenging circumstances are no match for love.”

Bishop Mascord said that while marriages that last a lifetime set an incredible example, there are also many other ways that families demonstrate the power of God’s love.

“As Catholics, we believe that through our actions—especially acts of service to others—we are bearers of Christ’s love in the world. I am particularly humbled by the sacrifices of love that single parents make for their children, and the generosity of couples and families who provide guardianship and foster care, and work for the good of the community.”

Mervyn and Fay Rigney are parishioners of All Saints Catholic Parish, Shellharbour City.

The Significant Marriage Anniversaries Mass will be held this Sunday 7 August at 2pm at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Wollongong. Everyone is warmly invited to attend.

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