By Katrina Genereux/Associate Editor, OND
Married couples, widows and widowers from across the Diocese of Crookston gathered at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Crookston, for the 23rd annual Marriage Celebration Day.
“We have to recover a posture of enchantment,” Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner said during the homily. “That’s why we’re here today, because you are enchanted in your marriage relationship. It’s exciting, it’s beautiful,” he said. “God is working in your hearts. They’re not hardened, they’re full and they continue to be so.”
Clara and Eugene Manecke of St. Mary, Fosston, who have been married 60 years were the honorary couple and received Bishop’s Medals during the Mass.
Bishop Hoeppner highlighted the Manecke’s reliance on prayer in good times and bad, as well as their involvement and dedication to their parish.
Prayer is something that has been key for the honorary newlywed couple as well. Kasey and Jackie Stevens are both from different towns in the Diocese of St. Cloud, but met during a Moorhead Catholic Campus Ministries event at St. Joseph, Moorhead in 2014. As freshmen at Concordia College, they were in line for a free meal for college students following Mass. They started talking, quickly became friends and began dating a few weeks later.
The couple turned to prayer while discerning the future of their relationship.
“We spent a lot of time in the Adoration chapel together,” Jackie said.
Each of them considered religious life, or priesthood in Kasey’s case, but determined they were called to marriage.
Jackie said they spoke with priests, their parents and other family in addition to prayerfully discerning their vocation.
They were married August 4 at Jackie’s home parish, St. Henry, Perham.
The couple requested half an hour of Eucharistic Adoration before their wedding Mass began.
“It was important for us to spend some time alone and together with our Lord Jesus Christ as individuals before becoming one flesh. We wanted to thank Jesus personally before celebrating with a Mass of Thanksgiving with family and friends,” Jackie said.
Kasey said married life has been different and challenging but good.
“It’s a great vocation. I’m sure a lot of people would agree. It’s really cool to know this is where God wants us, especially because that’s something that I think both of us have struggled with for a long time,” he said. “To know that this is where God wanted us to be the whole time, I find a lot of peace in that.”
“Once we got married and I got to come home to Kasey all the time, it was really nice to know … God has given me this gift to come home to and be blessed with every single day of my life,” Jackie said. “It’s a new adventure.”
Jackie graduated from Concordia in May and teaches junior high science, eighth grade classroom and religion at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Breckenridge, Minnesota. Kasey is in his final semester of studies at Concordia.
They have both been active with MCCM, Catholic Cobbers and ministries at St. Joseph, including teaching Theology of the Body to ninth grade religious education students.
Bishop Hoeppner blessed each of the honorary couples and at the end of Mass, married couples as well as widows and widowers received special blessings and rosaries.
Richard and Lorraine Deschene traveled from Argyle to attend the event, they celebrated their 67th anniversary on Oct. 3.
“We’ve been coming here quite a few years,” Richard said.
“It’s spiritual and you meet different people and learn from different people,” Lorraine said.
They enjoy hearing the stories of the honorary couples and spending time visiting during the meal served after Mass.
“The Lord has blessed us very much over the years and we notice it more as we grow older,” Richard said.
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