A journey of 10,000 days together in faith

On our wedding day, it rained, the limousine broke down, and we missed our flight from Logan Airport. Eight days later, we returned from our honeymoon with bad sun poisoning. All in all, it was quite a start to our marriage -- certainly not a sprinter's start.

It's been 25 years since that rainy day when we united our lives in the sacrament of marriage. When we started out, we had no idea what life would bring us, but we knew that our faith would always bring us through, and we have been blessed with many joys.

A marriage is built upon a strong foundation of faith. Through marriage preparation, couples are confirmed in a commitment to the sacrament and are prepared for the road ahead. Our marriage blessed us with three children and all of the joys, trials, and tribulations of parenting them. As parishioners at St. Mary's in Holliston, we are blessed to have Father Mark Coiro shepherd our family.

The Church is at the center of our milestone occasions, sometimes in surprising ways. On our 20th wedding anniversary, we planned a trip to New York City. Little did we know that our trip coincided with Pope Benedict's trip to the U.S. and his Mass at Yankee Stadium, which we were blessed to attend. This year, we joined hundreds of couples celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán O'Malley. It was inspiring to stand beside others renewing their marriage commitment and dedication to their spouse. It's our prayer that God's grace will carry us through the next 25 years of marriage or more.

Through it all, we've found that staying true to our faith and the Church has fostered and strengthened our love for one another and our understanding of God's love for us. Living our faith as a family is the greatest gift we can give our children. Two of our children have prayed with and dined with Cardinal Seán at World Youth Day, four of us have attended Mass with the pope, our youngest has participated in multiple mission trips, our oldest started a Christian-based worship club at her public high school, and our son is a camp counselor at a Catholic camp in Georgia.

Living out a Catholic marriage is similar to running a marathon -- crossing the finish line is the goal. It isn't easy, particularly in a culture that places little value in sacrificing for the sake of others. In the face of it all, we have each other and God to sustain us.

The steady presence of a loving spouse is a true gift. As we approach nearly 10,000 days of marriage we count approximately a half dozen times we have been separated overnight. We are a couple that has been blessed with the knowledge that the more we give to our marriage and faith, the more we have received in turn. Through God's grace, we hope to enjoy many more years as husband and wife, and we look forward to the next part of our journey with each other, our Church, and our faith.

Robert and Christine Ciavarra are parishioners at St. Mary's in Holliston and supporters of the Catholic Appeal. The Catholic Appeal funds 50 ministries and programs, including Marriage Ministries, which organized the Archdiocesan Anniversary Mass on June 2, 2013 at the Cathedral.