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Cardinal Francis George Blesses Couples Celebrating 50 Years of Marriage

By Erica Demarest | September 23, 2013 8:06am
 Cardinal Francis George blessed 410 married couples Sunday in Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St.
Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass
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DOWNTOWN — Pat and Tom Lamoureux met on a blind date in 1960.

The pair had dinner in Little Italy before swinging by a local movie theater to catch "The Apartment," a new release starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.

“That was it. That’s all it took," said Pat Lamoureux, now 72.

The couple was married in 1963 in south suburban Posen.

On Sunday, they joined more than 400 other Catholic couples at the Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St., to celebrate 50 years of marriage.

“I thank you today for the strong witness to the sacrament of matrimony that you represent," said Cardinal Francis George, who blessed the couples during a special afternoon mass.

George praised couples for their ability "to be generous, to be steadfast, to be constant in good times and bad. These are indeed times that continue to be difficult in some ways. But there are also times of grace."

When George told guests to "offer each other the sign of peace" — a common Catholic mass tradition in which parishioners shake hands with their neighbors — one couple turned to each other, smiled and kissed.

"I love you," the wife said.

Another woman took the opportunity to scan the packed cathedral.

"There's so many of us," she said.

Couples filled each pew, and family members had to wait outside during the ceremony.

"It's inspiring," said Anna DiBenedetto, as she and her husband, Emilio, chatted with friends during a courtyard reception after the mass.

"A lot of couples don’t last that long, so it was nice to see this many people," she said.

Today was "wonderful," Pat Lamoureux said. "It meant a lot. We renewed out vows. ... Let’s face it. In years to come, there won’t be as many couples who make it to 50 years. People wait longer to get married, and then they get divorced.”

Patience and shared hobbies have helped the Lamoureux's through the years, they said. The couple takes frequent golf trips and loves to share a laugh.

“I can honestly say she’s my best friend," Tom Lamoureux said, looking toward his wife. He recommend young couples work on "give and take."

Several couples credited their strong unions to patience, determination and having children together. Everyone interviewed said a strong Catholic faith helped them through tough times.

“I thank you and I congratulate you," George said during the mass. He urged those in attendance to share tips with younger married couples so they could "create relationships that last forever."