By Deirdre Lyra
Six couples were recognised for more than 245 years of marriage during National Marriage Day celebrations held at St Columba’s Parish, South Perth on August 12.
Those married for 50 years are John and Dawn Barich, Dunstan and Margaret Hartley, Robert and Deirdre Applebee and young marrieds Derek and Karen Boylen who celebrated their 10th anniversary.
These couples were given certificates sponsored by the Knights of the Southern Cross and the Australian Family Association.
Derek Boylen is the director of Perth’s Archdiocesan Catholic Marriage and Fertility Centre, which promotes and supports Catholic understanding and teaching on marriage and natural family planning, as well as providing marriage preparation and enrichment courses, relationship education and counselling services.
John and Ursula Hearn who were absent on the day, were also awarded a certificate for an impressive 60 years of marriage.
Parish priest Monsignor Brian O’Loughlin will present the certificate to the long married couple at a later time.
Another acknowledged couple were absent on the day.
In his Homily, Monsignor O’Loughlin made reference to the Gospel message of marriage and the family, of Jesus being the son of Joseph and of the fact the Jews knew his mother and father.
The celebration followed the 9.30am Mass, during which hundreds of couples from the parish and around the Archdiocese renewed their marriage vows.
Many wore the red and gold rosettes,which are a symbol of marriage and are often used for wedding anniversaries held in Parishes.
This Mass preceded a bigger celebration on a national scale, a rally in Canberra on August 14, which was addressed by guest speaker American lawyer and journalist Don Feder.
National Marriage Day marks the Marriage Amendment Act 2004 which defined marriage as “a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.
Rabbi Shimon Cowen spoke at the rally as well as Warwick Marsh from the Fatherhood Foundation.
Federal politicians showing cross-party support who spoke at the event included Eric Abetz, Mark Furner, Kevin Andrews, Barnaby Joyce and John Madigan.
A delegate from Perth joined attendees all across the country to show their support at the rally hosted in Canberra.
The National Marriage Day rally was first held in 2009.
Debate on two Marriage Equity bills currently before federal parliament has ended and a vote is expected to be taken in September this year.
Australian Family Association committee member Luke McCormack, who attended the rally, said the changing of Australia’s marriage laws would have a severe impact on children and would destroy the natural biological bonds of heterosexual marriage.