While visiting Indiana near the end of June, I had a rather distinct privilege.  50 years ago, my uncle, Rev. Bernard Voges married a young couple at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in Indianapolis.  This couple was Ron & Lois Kramer.  Ron & Lois have four children, Karen (Sahm), Mike, Dick and Bob.  They also have numerous grandchildren.

My Uncle, Fr. Bernie, died in 1980.  When I was ordained in 1992, my first assignment was St. Barnabas on the south side of Indianapolis.  It was here that I met Karen and her husband, Mike.  I baptised their second child, Brooke.  Their first child is Brian.  Sadly, Mike was soon after diagnosed with Leukemia and died before I left St. Barnabas.  Karen was my introduction into the Kramer family.  Lois, soon figured out the connection with my uncle, and a good friendship has endured through the years with the family.  My uncle, Fr. Bernie, was quite a character, and many stories of his antics still circulate to this day!

Sunday, June 27 (not the actual anniversary), the family gathered at their home for a backyard Mass.  Ron surprised Lois with a set of new rings when they renewed their vows before the children and grandchildren.  It was a marvelous moment, and their life has been a tremendous witness to fidelity and love.  The Church always celebrates these milestones of marital love, and gives thanks for such an embodiment of Christ’s love. 

Marital love is just one of many ways that remind us that our God is not distant.  He is indeed near and very involved in the lives of those who seek Him.  We were reminded of this reality and mystery just this Sunday in the words of Moses from the Book of Deuteronomy: 

The command I enjoin on you today (to love one another with all your strength) is not too mysterious and remote for you.  It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’  Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’  No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.  (Duet. 30:10-14)

Congratulations Ron & Lois!  and Thank you for your fidelity and love!