Antonetta Tagliapietra lost her husband a few months ago after 60 years of marriage, but she still attended the annual Marriage Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 8 July to honour their life together.
“He was a family man and we were never separated for a day,” Mrs Tagliapietra told The Catholic Weekly.
“We did everything together—he, and I, and our five children.”
Mrs Tagliapietra joined 150 married couples who took part in this year’s Marriage Mass presided over by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. There were couples of all age groups celebrating married lives from one to 65 years.
Eighty-seven year-old Mrs Tagliapietra, who is originally from Italy, met her husband Silvio in Sydney in the 1950’s when she was a young widow with a child. Her first husband had tragically died in a work accident and Antonetta had been struggling to raise her daughter single-handedly.
“Then I met this beautiful man. It was God who sent him.” Silvio, who was almost 99 when he passed away, proposed to her “out of the blue,” Mrs Tagliapietra said.
“He said to me, ‘If you don’t marry me I’ll go back to Italy because I don’t like Australia’,” she said laughing.
Their life together was “fantastic,” she said, and her advice to young married couples is “to be happy and do things together.”
“Life can be hard but stick together with love and sincerity and you can overcome everything.”
Also celebrating 60 years of marriage were Brian and Patricia McNally who renewed their wedding vows along with the other couples during the Marriage Mass.
Eighty-seven year-old Brian said the key to a long, successful marriage is “being able to communicate with each other.”
“Be tolerant with one another, help one another. It’s just a matter of making life as comfortable as possible for one another.”
His 82 year-old wife Patricia offered some advice for newly married couples saying, “You’ve just got to learn to live with someone new.”
She said it’s important to “be caring and understanding” and to always try to “just work things out.”
Among the younger couples celebrating one year of marriage were Melissa and Anthony Agius.
Melissa said they decided to attend the Marriage Mass to remind each other of their commitment “to each other and to God.”
She said after one year of marriage they’ve learned that it’s all about “perseverance, patience and communication.”
“Just be honest with each other and communicate,” she said.