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Diocese of Lake Charles 

It was love at first sight for Bud Harless when he saw his wife, Ramona, for the first time in 1952. He was stationed at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Fallon, Nevada. Six months later they were married at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Fallon.  Mr. and Mrs. Harless will celebrate 70 years of marriage on November 23. Bud said they never let a day go by without telling each other, “I love you.” 

When Ollie and Audrey Riggs were married on June 7, 1952, at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Opelousas, they didn’t have a big-time wedding. “We did the best we could, and we made it to 70 years,” said Audrey about their jubilee anniversary.

Two couples celebrating 70 years of marriage were among
52 couples honored during the annual Diocesan Wedding
Anniversary Mass on June 19 in the Cathedral of the
Immaculate Conception. Joining Bishop Provost are,
from left, Ollie and Audrey Riggs of Immaculate Heart
of Mary Catholic Church; and Ramona and Bud Harless
of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church.
(Photo credit: Morris LeBleu / Diocese of Lake Charles)

Both couples were among 104 spouses recognized during the 11:15 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 19, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass included a special blessing by Bishop Glen John Provost.

For a combined total of 2,650 years of marriage, 52 couples registered for the Diocesan Anniversary Mass hosted by the Office of Marriage and Family Life. 

Ramona said she has been blessed with a good husband who has seen her through various illnesses. 

“I’ve had breast cancer, a brain aneurysm, and a stroke leaving me paralyzed on my right side,” she recalled. “I went through seven weeks of therapy. Bud has always been there for me. We married for better or worse.” 

Ramona said she and Bud have had a peaceful life and always been compatible. 

“We have not lived big, but we have a nice little home and raised four good boys,” she said, noting they also have 11 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. 

With seven decades of experience as husband and wife, Ollie and Audrey have some advice for newly married couples. 

“Don’t give up. Marriage is not always easy,” said Ollie. “You have to keep going and do your best to keep your family together, especially when children are involved.” 

The Riggs have been blessed with three daughters, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 

“It hasn’t been cake and candy,” said Audrey, “but you have to go with the flow, take the good with the bad, and help one another to get by. You have to work on your marriage. No one can do it for you.” 

One thing that has kept Ollie going is his wife’s cooking. 

“Audrey loves to cook. I always had three meals to eat,” he said. “Some of my favorites are her chicken stew, gumbo, okra, and mustard greens. That’s what has kept us alive for this long and in pretty good health. We never had to eat all that fast food.” 

Bishop Provost noted that the date chosen for the celebration fell on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). 

“Both in the Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Matrimony we celebrate faith,” the Bishop said. “I want to say thank you to all the couples celebrating wedding anniversaries — for your radical witness, for your Eucharistic faith, your faithful attendance at Mass, your work to build a domestic Church in your homes, and your desire to pass this challenging faith on to your children.” 

He commented that faithfully married couples serve as a witness the world today desperately needs. 

“Married life offers challenges enough, but the modern world imposes its prejudices on us and confronts married couples with obstacles that were unheard of in previous generations,” said Bishop Provost. “Besides economic, social, and cultural changes that can be disruptive, married couples must face entirely new developments, such as the redefinition of marriage and a complete disregard for human life.” 

Extending his gratitude in the name of the Church, Bishop Provost expressed to the couples, “You are an encouragement to us all, to remain faithful, to persevere in tribulations, and to grow in love for God and our neighbor.” 

Those celebrating anniversaries of 25, 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70 years were honored with a reception following Mass.

70 YEARS:
• Bud and Ramona Harless, St. Margaret of Scotland Parish
• Ollie and Audrey Riggs, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish 

65 YEARS:
• Sam and Barbara Ange Sr., Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish 
• Ricardo and Marjorie Baca, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
• Robert and Marjorie Broussard, Our Lady of the Lake Parish 
• Dr. Charles and Gail Mackey, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 

60 YEARS:
• Vincent and Waverly Abate, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish 
• Kenneth and Sondra Abrahams, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
• Joseph and Mary Cook, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish 
• Darrell and Verline Duplechain, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Oakdale 
• Gilbert and Virginia Fontenot, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
• Paul and Patricia Fontenot, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Oakdale 
• George and Betty Rachal, St. Margaret of Scotland Parish 
• Leroy and Bernita Victorian, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Lake Charles 

55 YEARS:
• Howard and Claudia Bushnell, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish 
• Chester and Joledean Collins, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish 
• Mike and Karen Fills, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
• Eddie and Carol Fontenot, St. Joan of Arc Parish 
• James and Gwendolyn Fontenot, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish 
• Steven and Carolyn Fontenot, St. Joan of Arc Parish 
• Ralph and Susan Foreman, St. Raphael Parish 
• Fredman and Geraldine Hardy Jr., Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish 
• Kenneth and Charlotte Hine, St. Theodore Parish 
• Rodney and Glenda LaCombe, St. Martin de Porres Parish 
• Fred and Cathy Martin, St. Martin de Porres Parish 
• Jack and Mandy Robichaux, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
• Curtis and Rena Sterling Sr., Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish 
• Gene and Joetta Vizena, St. Joan of Arc Parish 

50 YEARS:
• Phillip and Maureen Abshire Jr., Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish 
• Paul and Linda Bienvenue, St. Margaret of Scotland Parish
• Jeffery and Brenda Boudreaux, St. John Vianney Parish 
• David and Debra Broussard, Christ the King Parish 
• Craig and Patricia Cole, St. Joan of Arc Parish 
• Deacon Erroll and Carla Deville, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lake Charles 
• James and Debbie Hogan, St. Theodore Parish 
• Anthony and Sandra Jones, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lake Charles 
• Dwayne and Lynne LaFleur, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish
• Deacon Edward and Brenda Lavine, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lake Charles 
• Adolph and Doris Marcantel, St. Raphael Parish 
• Richard and Mary Moreno, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
• Michael and Wanda Moreau, St. Pius X Parish 
• Anthony and Mary Ann Nocilla, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish 
• Lucas and Deborah Papania, St. Margaret of Scotland Parish 
• Homer and Bertha Williams Sr., St. Henry Parish 

25 YEARS:
• Joseph and Susana Beaubouef, St. Joan of Arc Parish 
• Vincent and Nidia Campos, St. Henry Parish 
• Jesus Gomez and Carmen Cabanes, St. Henry Parish 
• Walter and Carolyn Graske, St. Martin de Porres Parish 
• Samuel Martinez and Yolanda Osornio, St. Henry Parish 
• Luke and Katrina Picard, St. Theodore Parish 
• Allen and Pamela Seal, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception 
• Juan and Irasema Vargas, St. Henry Parish