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 | Brittany DeHaan

Standing the Test of Time

Long-time Married Couples Celebrate Love and Faith

Charles Marino first met his wife Mary Jean at a dance while in college. After dating and a two-and-a-half-year engagement, Charles heard God clearly tell him it was the right time to marry Mary Jean and she wholeheartedly agreed. 

The Marinos were married in 1959 and moved to Florida in 2000, becoming active parishioners at Our Lady of the Rosary in Land O’ Lakes. Despite the ups and downs that every marriage has, they have both recognized the importance of the Catholic faith in their lives and relationship.

On February 11, the Marinos joined couples from around the Diocese of St. Petersburg to celebrate World Marriage Day with the Marriage Jubilee Mass at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. Couples celebrating special anniversaries of 25 years, 50 years, or more were invited to participate. 

More than 200 couples from 51 parishes were represented at the Mass this year, including Mr. and Mrs. Nunes who celebrate their 76th anniversary this year, the longest married couple at the Mass. In total, 11,397 years of sacramental marriage were celebrated during the Mass. 

During his homily, Bishop Gregory Parkes said, “In our world today in many ways, marriage is something which is under attack. The whole concept of marriage is being challenged. My dear friends, you are witnesses to the fact that marriage is not only possible, but that it is a blessing in our world here today. As your bishop, I give thanks to God for the gift of the witness of your married love here in our diocese and to the world.”

For the Marinos, weekly dates and daily prayer have been important ingredients to their successful marriage.

“We are a very happy couple and always together. It has always been important to us, even with several children, that at least one day a week we enjoy a night out together,” said Mary Jean. “It’s also important that we pray together.”

Charles added, “Everything we do starts with a prayer– before meals, every morning, every evening, before we do anything. Communicate, talk to each other, be together. If things get a little rough, say ‘Come Holy Spirit.’ You’d be surprised how much that really helps.”

As they raised five children, they needed to find a way to make sure God remained the priority. 

“We put together an order– we have God first and then family,” Charles added.

Each year, National Marriage Week takes place the week leading up to Valentine’s Day with World Marriage Day celebrated on that Sunday. During this week, we are asked to focus on supporting and promoting sacramental marriage and the family. This year’s theme is Love Beyond Words.

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Marriage Jubilee 2024

The Marriage Jubilee Mass and the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life are made possible from gifts to the Catholic Ministry Appeal.