On Saturday 6thJuly more than 80 couples, together with their guests, converged on St. Bede’s Church in Basingstoke for the ninth Diocesan Significant Weddings Anniversary Mass.
Members of the BACCA (Basingstoke African Caribbean Catholic Association) provided assistance with parking before the couples were individually welcomed and provided with badges denoting which milestone anniversary they were celebrating and a souvenir Mass booklet. Light refreshments were on offer and gratefully received especially by those who had travelled long distances from all over the Diocese, including the Isle of Wight and Guernsey.
Parish Priest Fr. Christopher Rutledge welcomed all the participants before Mass began. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Philip assisted by three Priests and two Deacons. During the Mass the Bishop thanked God for those couples in the Diocese who are celebrating their 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th & 60thanniversaries and those celebrating more than 60 years of marriage - over 13 couples, the most popular year is still 50 years of marriage. The combined total of those celebrating exceeded 3,520 years of marriage! In his homily the Bishop thanked the couples “...for their example, fidelity & service. Like the Priesthood, marriage too is a vocation, a call from God”.
After Mass the couples were showered with confetti as they left the church before the entire congregation (approximately 380 people) enjoyed a buffet “Wedding Breakfast” culminating in the Bishop ceremonially cutting a wedding cake. The glorious weather contributed to the party-like atmosphere as everyone mingled in the hall & gardens, enjoying the display of wedding photographs through the years.
An enthusiastic team of parishioner ensured that the event ran smoothly and was a vibrant endorsement of the Sacrament of Marriage at a time when this institution is under increasing attack from secular sources.
The day was declared a resounding success by all who attended and already the date is in the diary for next year 2020.