By Tony DeGol
The Catholic Register
Frank and Katherine Roscia have some advice for newly-married couples.
“Get rid of your credit cards,” urged Katherine. “Most of the trouble in marriages today is over money.”
Before die-hard shoppers wince at that suggestion, it is important to point out that the Roscias may know a thing or two about “happily ever after.”
Members of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Altoona, they are celebrating their 74th wedding anniversary this year.
Beyond financial advice, the Roscias offered other pearls of wisdom from their more than seven decades of wedded bliss.
“When you’re married, it’s not just ‘I,’ it’s ‘we,’” stressed Frank.
Added his wife: “The best thing they can do is try to work out your problems together. One day he has his turn, one day I have my turn.”
Matthew and Amanda Drumm, members of Sacred Heart Parish in Altoona, will mark their tenth anniversary next month. While that milestone may seem to pale in comparison to the Roscias’ years together, they have learned a few tricks about having a successful union.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff and communicate,” said Matthew.
“I think communication is the biggest thing,” added Amanda. “If there’s something bothering you, talk to each other about it and figure it out as quickly as possible.”
The Roscias and the Drumms are among the 125 couples participating in this year’s Wedding Anniversary Liturgies sponsored by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Family Life Office.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the diocese offering the Liturgies.
This year’s first Mass, celebrated by Bishop Mark L. Bartchak, was on Sunday, September 9 at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The second Liturgy will be on Sunday, September 16 at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown.
In his homily at the Altoona celebration, Bishop Mark mentioned that he read a reflection from an attorney who said there are grounds for divorce in any marriage. The key is for couples to keep finding grounds for marriage.
According to the Bishop, Saint John tells us that the most important truth about God is that God is love.
“That truth is the number one ground for marriage,” Bishop Mark continued. “It’s so important because all other forms of love, including the love between husband and wife, is only as strong as the realization that it is based on the understanding and the firm conviction that God loves us first, before we ever think of loving someone else.”
Jesus reminds us of the grounds for marriage in the Gospel when He speaks about salt of the earth and light of the world, said the Bishop.
“Those images are reminders of the responsibility we all have in supporting the sacrament of marriage, not just on paper, not just in words, but through prayer, care, and attention,” he noted.
After the homily, Bishop Mark invites the husbands and wives to face each other and join hands for a special blessing. The names of each couple and their years of marriage are announced as the couples come forward for personal greetings from the Bishop.
Roy and Lynn Holtz, members of Saint Augustine Parish in Dysart, are marking their 40th anniversary this year. They said their Catholic faith has been key to their decades of happiness.
“Prayer works,” Lynn stated. “We just pray together. Lots of times we didn’t pray together throughout our younger years, but then as we grew older we found out that’s what helps hold you together.”
“Prayer is important,” he said. “The Church, the Mass, everything about it. Raising kids, you want to set a good example for them, so we just go to Church and be part of the parish and it’s really helped us grow in our love.”
Both Roy and Lynn agreed with the Drumms about the importance of communication. Roy offered another observation.
“There’s going to be problems in any marriage,” he stressed. “Never go to bed mad. Always settle whatever it is before you go to bed. Don’t hold any grudges and just love each other.”
The Roscias are the most senior couple participating this year. Paul and Mary Katch, members of Saints Cyril and Methodius Parish in Windber, are the next with 70 years.
Three couples marking their first anniversary are also participating.
“I’m going to put them in touch with all you veterans,” Bishop Mark joked with the crowd. “Continue to support them and encourage them. Our young people need that help, right?”