Cardinal celebrates golden wedding anniversary Mass

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Cardinal celebrates golden wedding anniversary Mass

Approximately 300 couples were in attendance as Cardinal Cupich presided over a special Mass for couples celebrating 50 years of marriage on Sept. 19, 2021 at St. John Brebeuf Church in Niles. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich smiles as he greets couples at the opening of the Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Couples from all over the archdiocese came to celebrate their anniversaries. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Hanna and Lech Ruszynsk, parishioners of St. John Brebeuf in Niles, pray during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich leads the couples in renewing their vows. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Abdul and Rita Qaiyum of Queen of the Apostles Parish in Chicago renew their vows. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Marilyn and Mark McMurrough of St. Joseph Parish in Libertyville renew their vows. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Hanna and Lech Ruszynski, parishioners at St. John Brebeuf in Niles, present the gifts to the cardinal. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Diane and Greg Patzer of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Schaumburg hold hands during the Our Father. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

What is the key to making it through 50 years of marriage?

“With a lot of prayer and relying on our faith in God is how we got to 50 years,” Maria Zuwala said in Polish through her daughter who was translating. “There were a lot of struggles through the years, especially being immigrants but our faith kept us going.”

She and her husband Jozef, parishioners at Our Lady Mother of the Church Polish Mission in Willow Springs, were one of 300 couples who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary during a Mass with Cardinal Cupich at St. John Brebeuf Church in Niles on Sept. 19.

She also offered some tips to new couples.

“There should be a lot of love, understanding and being able to reason with each other and that will keep you going through all of the decisions you have to make going forward,” she said.

“The biggest thing is she spoils me because she is the better half,” Bob Schu said of his wife Rosemary. They are parishioners at St. Eugene Parish, 7958 W. Foster Ave.

Rosemary said it helps to have a lot of patience too, especially when you are raising four children like they did.

“We’re still working hard at it, even after 50 years,” Rosemary Schu said. “It’s been a good life. A lot of trials. A lot of problems, but we made it.”

The celebration was extra special for Bob Schu because his own parents were preparing to celebrate their 50th anniversary when his father passed away from cancer. He said he was celebrating for them too.

Hanna and Lech Ruszynski, parishioners at St. John Brebeuf, said love and understanding is the key to making it to 50 years of marriage.

The couple, who moved to Chicago from Poland 40 years ago, said celebrating their anniversary with Cardinal Cupich was special. They also had a personal celebration in the church in July on their anniversary.

“My wife, she can’t miss this,” Lech Ruszynski said.

“It’s wonderful. It’s something really wonderful for us and thank God for all blessings so we’re healthy and our future will be good,” Hanna Ruszynski said.

Rita and Abdul Qaiyum of Queen of the Apostles, 2330 W. Sunnyside Ave., shared advice they have given their children.

“As I told my children when they got married, there are times in your marriage that are up and down, up and down. You fall in love. You fall out of love. But you always have to go back to that original feeling and your vow,” Rita Qaiyum said. “Always remember the reasons you fell in love because they still exist in the other person. It’s just that the circumstances bury them. You have to find a way to bring those back.”

“I always go back to something Rita’s father said. People often say marriage is 50-50. He said, ‘No. It’s 100-100. You have to give all of yourself in order for the marriage to work. If you only give half of yourself then it’s not going to work,’” Abdul Qaiyum said. “In other words, you have to put the other person first. I’ve always tried to do it. I’m sure I’ve failed. But we made it to 50 years without any mishaps.” 

The couples were married in 1971, a year Cardinal Cupich can relate to.

“I have to admit I feel very much at home with this generation,” Cardinal Cupich said at the start of his homily, drawing laughter from the congregation. “The year was 1971. It was the same year that I went off to the seminary to study for the priesthood.”

He and the couples were making life-changing decisions and promises during that time, which also included social unrest and political turmoil during the Vietnam War.

“And yet this generation, our generation, came forward and said that we were going to make sure that the traditions of our society, of our country and our religion would be preserved by us and our families, taking the risk of raising children, of contributing to society,” Cardinal Cupich said. “All of that is worth celebrating here today.”

The Gospel reading for the day speaks to a commitment to those who will come in later generations, the cardinal said. Jesus was saying that no one should underestimate the contribution to them.

The cardinal told the couples to embrace their role to pass on the faith to future generations and to recognize the impact they have on young people.

“Don’t underestimate that,” he said. “And I would suggest you make this a project for yourself, especially as we are involved in Renew My Church and renewing the church within this archdiocese, not to be afraid of sitting down with your grandchildren, and telling them how your faith has got you through some real difficult moments, what it’s meant to you, and how your closeness to Jesus in your prayer life has made a difference and, in fact, contributed to the day which you are celebrating here today of your anniversary.”


  • marriage

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