45 years ago today, May 27th, my parents got married…
Today, on their 135th anniversary, they are up in Pennsylvania renewing their wedding vows. Yes, I said their 135th wedding anniversary. They were married in Japan because my mom was living there with her family (my Grandpa was stationed there) and, in Japan, an American couple ended up having to get married three times. They had a Japanese legal ceremony, an American legal ceremony, and their church wedding.
While a renewal of vows in Japan would have been romantic, by going to Pennsylvania, they are able to have their vows officiated by the same Catholic priest who married them 45 years ago, Monsignor Robert Thomas McManus (back then, just Father McManus). This whole event is made even more special by the fact that Monsignor McManus is celebrating his 60th year in the priesthood this month. I love the continuity of it all. I do know there will be one significant difference this time around. 45 years ago, on May 22th, my parents had completed the 2 civil ceremonies. Father McManus called them at my Grandparents house to congratulate them and to remind them that, in the eyes of the church, they weren’t married until they got married in the church. My Grandpa laughed, commented that he knew he liked that man, and informed my dad that he could go back to the BOQ (bachelor officer’s quarters) and my mom would stay right there in her bed. I don’t imagine there is anything that would get them to sleep apart this time around.
My parents knew each other for a total of 10 months before they married. Out of those 10 months, they saw each other a total of 14 whole or partial days…living on opposite sides of the world will do that to you. And, despite that short span of time, they have weathered storms that might have torn other couples apart. They truly live up to those vows that they spoke 45 years ago and I only hope my marriage has the same strength and joy that theirs has.