Patience, prayer are secrets to long marriage, jubilarians say

Dozens of couples from across the Diocese
attend Mass celebrating the meaning and value
of married life

Tom and Barb Wolfslau may know the secret to a long, happy marriage.

At least when it comes to their marriage.

“Patience and love,” Barb says.

The couple, parishioners at St. George Parish in New Baden, were one of dozens of couples at this year’s Festive Mass of Thanksgiving in Celebration of Life and Love celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Peter on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The Mass recognized couples celebrating their 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, and beyond wedding anniversaries. Bishop Michael McGovern served as principal celebrant and homilist.

The Wolfslaus were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. According to Barb, their Catholic faith is at the center of their marriage.

“Keeping God involved in our lives is very important,” she says.

“And she’s a good cook!” Tom adds.

The couple met on a blind date at Laclede’s Landing in St. Louis.

“Muddy Waters, was the place. I used to go there a lot in the 80’s and 90’s,” Tom says.

Today the Wolfslaus have two kids and five grandchildren. Their son Justin will be ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Belleville next June.

After Mass, they planned to celebrate their anniversary with a catered dinner at their home—courtesy of their children.

Another factor in the longevity of their marriage, Barb says, is the importance of family.

“Most of our family is here today,” she says. “Both our kids and grandkids live within a mile of us. It keeps us together. We do a lot as a family.”

Gary and Peggy Haselhorst were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The Haselhorsts attend St. Clare Parish in O’Fallon. Gary is a cousin to the late Father Vincent Haselhorst.

So what is their secret to a long and happy marriage?

“Don’t stay angry long,” says Peggy, with a laugh.

“We’ve said a lot of prayers and we’ve had a lot of blessings,” she added.

Among those blessing are their three children and nine grandchildren, all of whom she says are healthy.

In his greeting and homily Bishop McGovern congratulated the jubilarians and praised their loving commitments to each other.

The bishop said when couples have been married a long time they can sometimes forget what a rare treasure married life is. I hope you never lose the sense of what a gift it is to have this bond of marriage. We never want to lose sight of the value and the meaning of our married life,” he said.

“A wise priest once said marriage is not about living with someone, but living for someone,” the bishop added. “As Jesus showed us, sacrifice is often irksome; only love can make it easy and perfect love can make it a joy.”

The bishop referred to a statement by Pope Francis who talked about the “daily homily, the silent homily of married life.”

“Nothing I can say compares to what you have preached without words in your daily lives,” he said.