After taking part in the diocese’s Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass at Saint Paul Cathedral on April 18, Paul and Joyce Kelly were asked to share the secret to their long and happy marriage.
“A detached garage,” Paul replied with a smile. “I like woodworking.”
“Prayer and patience,” Joyce answered.
The Chicora couple has relied on humor and God’s grace to see them through 50 years of sacramental marriage that began with their first date at a community dance in Butler. She was 15, from Saint Wendelin Parish. He was 18, and a member of Saint Paul’s.
They married two years later, on June 13, 1970. Their son, Jubal, was born in 1976. The Kellys also raised Joyce’s half-brother, Herman, who was 11 when he came to live with them. Today, they also have four grandchildren and are members of Saint Clare Parish in Butler County.
Paul Kelly enjoyed a long career at Armco, later AK Steel, retiring as union president. He and Joyce share a love of travel, visiting all 50 U.S. states and 11 other countries.
In his homily, Bishop David Zubik personally thanked all the couples in attendance, “because your lives are a real sermon to me. Not only the words that you may speak, but the lives you are leading.
“You wouldn’t be here today, celebrating 50 years as husband and wife, if Jesus was not the foundation of your relationship,” he said.
Reflecting on the first reading, from Acts 3, Bishop Zubik said Jesus took the experience of death, and created new life.
“You may have had any number of death experiences in your life,” he said. “Or…maybe you lost a job. Or didn’t have enough money to pay bills. But you made it through all of those experiences.”
“These remarkable couples demonstrate the grace and love that has sustained them through lives that glorify God,” said Judene Indovina, diocesan director for Catholic identity. “They are visible witnesses to the power and beauty of the sacrament of marriage.”
“Our faith is definitely a part of our home,” Joyce Kelly said. “We are very thankful for everything.”
The April 18 Mass was rescheduled from last fall. A Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass for couples with 2021 anniversaries will be held on October 10 at Saint Paul Cathedral.
View Bishop Zubik’s entire homily here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1zrdOVXhnA