Ed and Emma Migdal began their love story more than 50 years ago as college students at SUNY Cortland teaching religious education classes in the upstate community.
The parishioners of Sacred Heart in Newburgh were among 288 golden jubilee married couples who renewed their marriage vows at a June 3 Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dolan in a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“Teaching CCD really got the relationship going and it went from there. It’s hard to believe,” Ed Migdal told CNY after Mass. “Our faith has been an integral part of our life from the minute we met each other to this moment.”
In all, 345 married couples registered as celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. All of the couples received a commemorative certificate.
“This was a wonderful day,” said Ed Migdal, a father of three and grandfather of four. “It was a great experience to not just only be in St. Patrick’s, but to have the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dolan.”
Cardinal Dolan welcomed the couples and their families at the start of Mass and in opening his homily.
“How fitting and appropriate it is to celebrate the jubilee of your marriage, you would come to the Mother Church, the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of New York,” Cardinal Dolan said in beginning his homily. “This has got to be one of the festive, joyful occasions of the whole year. I really look forward to it.”
In his homily, Cardinal Dolan spoke of the promise each husband and wife made to one another as well as the one they made to God, who promises to be with the married couples each day.
“In a world of broken promises, in a world that seems so afraid to make a deeper commitment, here you are 50 years of faithful love,” the cardinal said. “You don’t think that means something to your kids. You don’t think that’s a powerful example to your grandkids. You don’t think that’s a helpful illustration to me and for the Church. We need this example of fidelity.
“We love you. We’re proud of you. We congratulate you. We thank you.”
Michael and Joan Gibbons, parishioners of St. Columba’s in Hopewell Junction, were raised in neighboring Bronx neighborhoods, but they met through mutual friends on a trip to the New Jersey shore.
“It’s a great day,” Michael said. “Fifty years ago, I married my beautiful wife and it’s been a great 50 years. She’s given me three beautiful children and seven great-grandchildren.”
Joan added, “You never think you’d see 50 years. You don’t think that far in advance, but it comes by quickly.”
The Gibbons’ three children purchased a cruise to Bermuda for their parents, who traveled to Bermuda on their honeymoon.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment in today’s age,” said Deirdre LaRosa, one of the Gibbons’ three children and a parishioner at St. Mary’s in Wappingers Falls. “They’ve been wonderful examples to all of us and such active parts of our lives. Thankfully, they’re healthy and they do everything they can to spend as much time as they can with their grandkids.”
The Mass was a reunion for the Minardos and Anemones, two couples celebrating 50 years of marriage. Carol Minardo was introduced to her husband Anthony by Lucille Anemone when they were attending Brooklyn College.
“He was very kind, considerate and caring. He wasn’t rich, so it had to be something else,” said Carol. She and her husband are parishioners of St. Charles on Staten Island. The Minardos have three children and six grandchildren.
Anthony Minardo added, “My wife is very, very special. I don’t think I could have been with anybody any better, and that’s how we lasted 50 years.”
Lou Anemone, a parishioner with his wife of St. Anthony’s in Nanuet, is a retired officer with the New York City Police Department. He said the jubilee Mass at St. Patrick’s was a homecoming.
“We had a Mass here every year for the Holy Name Society (of the NYPD). It’s a place we’ve come to know and two of our daughters were married here. We have so much history here with family and my job,” he said.
The Anemones have three children and 11 grandchildren. Lucille Anemone said being in St. Patrick’s with family and friends for a Mass with Cardinal Dolan made the day even more special.
“It’s always nice to connect with old friends,” she said. “There is such joy that comes from the cardinal, and to repeat our vows in front of him was extraordinary.”