How to love for 60 years? It’s how you approach it, say Noel and Honorine from St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie, who celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in May.
Sitting down in the kitchen/dining room of their Girraween home where they have lived for 47 years, I ask Noel and Honorine McKertich about the happiest moments of their 60 years of marriage.
“Every moment has been happy,” Noel, 92, replied.
In May this year, Noel and Honorine celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with a Mass at Sacred Heart Church, Westmead, followed by a reception with family and friends.
But, the couple told me, it almost wasn’t to pass.
Growing up in the southern parts of India, the couple first met at a wedding. They met up again five years later at a local dance. “After the music stopped, I kept holding his hand, and he kept holding my hand, and that was it,” Honorine said, beaming. “It was electric. It was love straight away. I knew then he was the one for me, no doubt.”
A couple of weeks later, due to family pressures, Honorine was asked not to see Noel again and she made the hard decision to end the relationship.
Meeting up by chance a week later, Honorine realised her true feelings: “Then and there, I made up my mind. I felt strongly about my love I had for Noel and I wanted him to be my life partner. We made a date for the next day,” she chuckled.
“We never broke up after that,” Noel added.
Married and with five children, they migrated to Australia, renting in Toongabbie in 1971.
The whole family would walk two kilometres to Mass at St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie every week. They would attend Confession every month and would recite their night prayers along with the Rosary.
In their role as parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, both Noel and Honorine try and spread the Good News amongst their family, whether it be giving them small reminders to attend Mass, gifting prayers, icons and statues as presents or just simply offering prayers for them at one of the three altars they have set up in their home.
“We share our faith by loving our five children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (so far), caring for them and teaching them to be good, kind, honest and forgiving people,” they said.
“We assure them that prayers do work miracles and can move mountains.”
When asked for advice they could share with younger couples, Noel and Honorine emphasised always being there for each other, being compassionate, loving unconditionally and having faith in God, the Church and each other.
“Every marriage has ‘ups and downs’, it’s just how you approach them and how you deal with them and that you work them out together with patience, sometimes silence, tears, apologies, hugs and kisses and lots of love.
“Couples must learn the art and form of giving, loving, sharing, serving, praising one another.
“Most of all, keep your faith strong and practise it every day. Keep the Holy Family close, and pray to Jesus to stay near you each hour of each day.”
In reflecting on what has kept them together over 60 years, the couple mentioned the deep love and commitment they share with each other and with God, practising their faith and always remembering the vows they made on their wedding day.
“Love is a very important thing,” Noel said. “As St Paul said, ‘the greatest of all is love’.”
Noel and Honorine’s five ways to love:
- Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18)
- Give without sparing (Proverbs 21-26)
- Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1)
- Promise without forgetting (Proverbs 13:12)
- Love without ending – Honorine.
This article was originally published in the 2022 Ordinary Time | Winter 2022 edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine. You can pick up your copy of the magazine in parishes, schools and offices across the Diocese of Parramatta now or you can read the digital version here.