Diocesan News

Couples Celebrate 6,309 Years of Marriage

by Marie Elena Giossi

Paradise – that is how Deacon Ramon Lima describes the 55 years of marriage he has shared with his wife Digna.

“She is the love of my life,” the deacon said of his still blushing bride as they rededicated themselves to each other in the eyes of God and their three children at the annual diocesan Wedding Anniversary Celebration last Saturday, April 26.

The Limas were among more than 160 husbands and wives gathered for the morning Mass celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn, which was followed by a light reception in the pavilion.

Couples marking significant wedding anniversaries, ranging from 25 to 66 years, were honored for their “wonderful example of fidelity in marriage,” the bishop said in welcoming the couples, who collectively represented 6,309 years of holy matrimony.

Concelebrating the Mass were Msgr. Joseph Grimaldi, episcopal vicar for Brooklyn; Father James Massa, moderator of the Curia, and Father Stephen Giulietti, whose own parents, Frank and Joanne, were present in anticipation of their upcoming 30th anniversary in August.

The Mass was sponsored by the diocesan Office of Faith Formation.

Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass and Celebration, St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn, April 26, 2014

Deacon Ramon and Digna Lima, 55 years, left, and Deacon Ricardo and Regina Moreno, 40 years

Readings were proclaimed by Catherine Bala, who is marking her 50th anniversary with husband Robert

Mattie and Richard Harris, 43 years

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was the main celebrant and homilist

Couples renewed their wedding vows in their native tongues

Deacon Bryan and Lisa Amore, 25 years

Adele and Robert Estepa, 31 years

Bishop DiMarzio congratulates Joanne and Frank Giulietti on 30 years of marriage along with their son, Father Stephen

Bishop DiMarzio with Lillian and George Buksa, 60 years

Kurniati and Robert Santosa, 27 years

Bishop DiMarzio with Amanda and Santiago Brito, 55 years, left, and their son and daughter-in-law, Santiago and Maira, 30 years

Julia Budiarto and Indra Tjahjandi, 26 years

Rafael and Joan Mesina, 25 years


“In this day and age when marriage seems to be disposable, it is a great honor for us to celebrate with these couples,” said Ana Puente, diocesan coordinator for marriage and family life, who organized the event.

“They (married couples) prove that a lifelong commitment is possible if they’re close to each other and obviously if they have God in their relationship.”

“It is in your marriages, in the love you have for one another, that you find the reality of God … That isn’t always easy,” Bishop DiMarzio said as couples gave him knowing smiles.

In his homily, he shared some advice Pope Francis recently gave to couples, specifically three phrases to guarantee a long and happy marriage: “Please may I,” “Thank you” and “I’m sorry.”

Asking for forgiveness, the bishop said, is most important of all.

“Forgiveness is part of what marriage is about,” he told the couples, “because if there is no forgiveness, marriages cannot endure.”

Calling each marriage “a work of art,” he said that every work of art suffers a few bumps and falls, difficulties and arguments, because “that is how the beauty of life in marriage comes out.”

He encouraged couples to continue giving witness to the joy of the Gospel in the world and in their families through their examples of happiness, fidelity and love.

Bishop DiMarzio sprinkled holy water on the couples and invited them to renew their wedding vows in their native tongues: English, Spanish, Italian, Polish and Creole.

Adele and Robert Estepa from St. Brendan parish, Midwood, renewed the promises they made to be true to each other at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on a hot June day 31 years ago.

Love, Trust, Respect and Faith
More than three decades later, the couple says that love, trust, respect and faith are at the core of their union. Not only do they find joy in praying together but also in serving together as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion in their parish.

Patience and trust in God have kept the bonds of matrimony strong for college sweethearts Julia Budiarto and Indra Tjahjadi who met at Trisakti University in West Jakarta, Indonesia.

Now parishioners at Resurrection Ascension parish, Rego Park, they celebrated their 26th anniversary on Jan. 5 with their three sons.

“God always helps us face the problems and carry the cross,” Budiarto said. “We always believe in God, thank God and forgive each other.”

Forgiveness has also been key for the Limas, who admit that even in paradise, “it is not blue skies all the time.”

As best friends and lovers, they have seen their share of struggles, but they don’t let hard feelings linger and they never go to bed angry.

“When we go to bed, we hold hands and ask each other for forgiveness,” the deacon said. “I have promised to always hold her hands, and I hope one day we can hold hands in eternal life.”


A Prayer for Marriage
We thank you, O God, for the Love You have implanted in our hearts.
May it always inspire us to be kind in our words, considerate of feelings, and concerned for each other’s needs and wishes.
Help us to be understanding and forgiving of human weaknesses and failings.
Increase our faith and trust in you and may your prudence guide our life and love.
Bless our marriage, O God, with peace and happiness, and make our love fruitful for your glory and our joy both here and in eternity.
Lord, help us to remember when we first met and the strong love that grew between us.
Help us to work that love into practical things so nothing can divide us.
We ask for words both kind and loving, and for hearts always ready to ask forgiveness as well as to forgive.
Dear Lord, we put our marriage into your hands.