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Cathedral couple honored as 2018 longest married couple in Virginia

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John and Maria Cassidy have been married for 68 years. The couple was the 2018 state winner of the eighth annual Longest Married Couple Project, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

They were presented a certificate of achievement and a certificate of congressional recognition at their parish, the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, Feb. 18.

Father Robert J. Rippy, cathedral rector, said he usually sees the opposite of long marriages. “You know in my work as judicial vicar of the diocese I see nothing but failed marriages,” he said. “I guarantee you now I will hold you up to the couples that they can make a marriage work if they would try.”

The Cassidys were nominated by their friend, Ann Wester. “I’ve known them for more than 35 years,” she said. “Maria has been a mentor in terms of getting me involved in the Dominican Retreat House, a lot of activities at church and with the Secular Franciscans. John has always been right there. She (doesn’t drive) so he always dropped her off and picked her up. They are a model couple in terms of the Catholic faith and doing things for other people.”

Each year, Worldwide Marriage Encounter names the longest-married couples in each state. Worldwide Marriage Encounter is a marriage enrichment program that has offered retreats for couples for more than 50 years. They started the project to honor couples with long marriages and to show others that marriages can go the distance, according to Dick and Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter North American public and media relations coordinators. The winning couples become members in the WWME Longest Married Couple Project Alumni Club.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018