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750 Couples Celebrate Fifty Golden Years Together

August 31, 1987

CHICAGO (AP) _ The sound of wedding bells faded long ago, but the 750 couples who entered Holy Name Cathedral holding hands and exchanging winks appeared more like newlyweds than people celebrating 50 years of marriage.

Every pew was packed with smiling senior citizens who came to renew the wedding vows they took in 1937 and receive a special blessing from Cardinal Joseph Bernardin during Sunday’s 10th annual Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass.

Bernardin congratulated the ″jubilarians″ on their commitment to marriages that have survived wars, the Depression and numerous personal struggles.

″We live in a world of fast food and brief marriages,″ Bernardin said. ″You have clearly demonstrated that faithful married life is, indeed, possible.″

The Office for Family Ministries of the Archdiocese of Chicago sent 990 invitations, and 756 couples replied that they would attend, said spokesman Joe Dix.

The years went by too fast for Bob and Eleanore Huck of suburban Hinsdale, who said they will celebrate their anniversary Nov. 20.

″I can’t believe it, it feels like it was just several years ago,″ Mrs. Huck said.

″We never thought we’d make it 50 to begin with,″ Huck said with a laugh.

When asked if they had any regrets since their marriage May 15, 1937, George and Ellie Dods of LaGrange simultaneously answered ″none at all.″

″When you think back on all that went on, it seems very short,″ George Dods said. ″I’m just glad I was with a generation that can stick together.″

Dods said he knew Ellie was ″the one″ from the first moment he saw her.

″His mother said his car knew no other way to go than to my house,″ Mrs. Dods said.

Sunday’s Mass was the second time this summer Victoria and Philip Vitale renewed their wedding vows.

″I’m wearing the same dress I wore to my granddaughter’s wedding June 27, and we said our vows again there,″ said Mrs. Vitale. The Vitales were married on the same day 50 years ago, she said.

″We get along real good, and I wish I could do it all over again,″ said Vitale, who wore a shiny gold bow tie and a boutonniere with his black suit.

Remaining true to traditional values is the secret of marital success, according to Waino and Christine Sarvana of suburban Arlington Heights.

″When we got married we weren’t even old enough to vote, and look at us now,″ Sarvana said.

″When you get married, it’s until death do us part, in sickness and in health - that’s what we believe in.″

Today’s young newlyweds could benefit from the example set by the jubilarians, said Irene O’Leary, who played with her son outside while her parents Tony and Mary Capua attended the Mass.

″These people saw a lot of struggles and disappointments,″ Mrs. O’Leary said. ″They stood by each other instead of just giving up.″

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