Blessing for a Golden Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Rite

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In late November, we were privileged to have in our chapel a High Mass for a couple’s fiftieth anniversary of marriage. It was a most edifying occasion, during which those gathered from near and far heard a beautiful sermon on the nature of matrimony, and the gift of perseverance in this day when marriage is so undermined by perversity and selfishness. Besides the traditional High Mass, there was a ritual of blessing at the beginning, and a sung Te Deum at the end, both of which we present below. The “Allocution” that begins the rite of blessing comes from the Weller edition of the Roman Ritual. Psalm 127 and the Te Deum were both chanted in Latin, as were certain of the other prayers of the ritual. Here, we present everything in English.

Allocution

Beloved of Christ: “Wedlock is a holy thing and it should be dealt with in a holy manner.” This is the teaching of the Council of Trent. Evidently you subscribe wholeheartedly to this solemn pronouncement, because you begin the festivities of your golden wedding anniversary in the house of God. You are come to render thanksgiving to Him for His benevolent favors of the past fifty years, and to entreat His benediction upon you for the years that remain. You return as devout pilgrims today to the altar of God, where in your youth you were made joyful and glad with the marriage sacrament. You were married in Christ, and the Lord has continued these many years to be your portion in happiness and your chalice in sorrow, just as you live in hope that He will bequeath an everlasting inheritance when the journey comes to an end.

On the day of your wedding, so long past, grace was laid up in your souls through the sacrament which you administered to each other. Today you stand before the world as a striking testimony of what God’s grace, conferred in matrimony, can effect in the husband and wife who will work along with the divine treasure that is in them. Our world has great need of the living sermon which your example of fidelity and loyalty dins into its ears. All who validly receive the sacrament of matrimony are meant to be sanctified and strengthened for the duties and for the dignity of their state, but sad to say not all use the powers of grace laid up in the soul by this sacrament. Because so many married folks have gone astray from the living God and turned to the false gods of their own inordinate whims and desires, we are confronted on all sides by the spectacle of overwhelming unhappiness and frustration that plagues our present society. Hatred between spouses, adultery, divorce, race suicide, unbridled selfishness, broken homes, forsaken children — these are the accursed fruits resulting when the grace of matrimony lies unused and its duties neglected. But now that we have mentioned these evils in protest and warning for the ears that can benefit from the Church’s solemn admonition, let us turn quickly from these unpleasant considerations, so offensive to the devout people of God, and instead take inspiration and courage from the lessons afforded by this happy occasion.

We are inclined to believe that you have lived the years of wedlock in imitation of the chaste nuptials of Christ with His Church, that your love for each other has resembled Christ’s love for His spotless Bride, and that as Christ is the Savior of the Church, so you have been to each other a savior, helping each other to grow in holiness and in true love for God and neighbor. Thus it has come about that now there is found in your marriage peace, dignity, happiness, and security. Of course, it is no secret that your way has not been easy at all times. You have had to endure suffering together. You have often been nailed to the cross of sacrifice. There have been temptations to overcome. You have been put to the test of heroic generosity and unselfishness, so that you might patiently bear each other’s weaknesses and imperfections. But because you have been subject to God, you have subdued the rebellion of the flesh. With God’s help you have been enabled to accomplish what of yourselves you would not have been able.

In the name of Christ, of the Church and all her children who are present, as well as in my priestly office, I extend heartiest congratulations to you and all good wishes for your future years together. Shortly we shall offer the Holy Sacrifice in praise and thanksgiving to our heavenly Father for the great work He has wrought in you. In the course of the Mass let us also beseech the Most High to be ever at your side in His full power and glory, assisting you to continue and to persevere unto the end, so that the wedlock kept holy on earth may adorn you for the hour in which the heavenly messenger comes to conduct you to the divine nuptials of the Lamb of God.

 

Blessing For Wedding Anniversaries

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
V. And let my cry come unto Thee.
R. The Lord be with you.
V. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray

Direct, O Lord, we beseech Thee, our actions by Thy holy inspirations, and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and by Thee be happily ended. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Priest: N., do you renew and confirm your taking of N., here present for your wedded wife?

Husband: I do.

Priest: N., do you renew and confirm your taking of N., here present for your wedded husband?

Wife: I do.

May the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Ghost, descend upon you and remain forever. R. Amen

Ant. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.

Psalm 127

Blessed are all they that fear the Lord: that walk in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labours of thy hands: blessed art thou, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife as a fruitful vine, on the sides of thy house. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. May the Lord bless thee out of Sion: and mayest thou see the good things of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. And mayest thou see thy children’s children, peace upon Israel. Glory be…

Ant. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Our Father (silently as far as):
V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray

Almighty, everlasting God, look with kindness on these your servants, who with gladness approach Thy holy temple to give thanks, and grant that, after this life they may, with their children, attain to the joys of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Te Deum

We praise Thee, O God: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship Thee and the Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels: to Thee the heavens and all the Powers therein.
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry with unceasing voice:
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts.
The heavens and the earth are full of the majesty of Thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the admirable company of the Prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of Martyrs praise.
Thee the Holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge.
The Father of infinite Majesty.
Thine adorable, true and only Son
Also the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou having taken upon Thee to deliver man
didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
Thou having overcome the sting of death
didst open to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants:
whom Thou has redeemed with Thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting.
Lord, save Thy people: and bless Thine inheritance.
Govern them and lift them up forever.
Day by day we bless Thee.
And we praise Thy name forever: and world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord: have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us: as we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I hoped: let me never be confounded.

V. Blessed are art Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
R. Praised, worthy and exalted above all forever.
V. Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
R. Let us praise him and exalt him above all forever.
V. Bless the Lord, O my soul.
R. And forget not all he has done for Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come to Thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray

O God, whose mercy is unlimited and whose goodness is inexhaustible, we thank Thee for all that Thou in Thy loving majesty hast given us. We ask that Thou, who always answerest those who pray, may in Thy mercy not abandon them, but prepare them to receive eternal rewards. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

 
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