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Vows, inspiration renewed on World Marriage Day

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Vows, inspiration renewed on World Marriage Day
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On Sunday, couples gathered in Syracuse to honor their love in the church ahead of Valentine's Day. Our Candace Hopkins has more on the World Marriage Day celebration.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Valentine's Day isn't until Friday, but more than 100 couples gathered in Syracuse on Sunday to reaffirm their love and devotion. Bishop Cunningham led a love-themed mass and vow renewal as part of World Marriage Day.

The celebration is the church's spin on the Hallmark holiday.

"We celebrate Valentine's Day, we celebrate the love, the love of Christ for his church, and the marriage covenant, it's the love between spouses that's supposed to reflect that," said Jennifer Kearns, the coordinator of Marriage and Family Enrichment for the Syracuse Diocese.

World Marriage Day was developed from a Louisiana event in 1981. For Sunday's mass, couples hailed from all over Central New York and the Southern Tier.

John and Kathy Colligan made the trip from Endwell to celebrate 55 years together. They say the key to making their marriage work is taking care of each other.

"I think as the years go by, that putting the other person first increases, it doesn't decrease, so the challenges of marriage change throughout the years, if you've been growing and changing with it, you're ready," said Kathy Colligan.

For the Colligans, the vow renewal came at an emotional time as John battles cancer.

"For sickness and in health, for better or for worse, till death do us part, with this cancer stuff, it's real, it's real," said John Cooligan.

In the next aisle, John and Stella Smorol were recognized for being the longest married couple in the room. They tied the knot 67 years ago, and still make it to church nearly every week.

Their son says their lives have been all about each other and their faith.

"Now-a-days divorce is on the rise as usual and to see two people stay together for so many years and to be devoted to each other, it's really an inspiration", said Leonard Smorol.

The church hopes that these couples will be an inspiration to those who may be struggling to stay together.

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