More than 100 couples will walk down the aisle of the Cathedral of Christ the Light on Oct. 21 to take part in the first of what organizers hope will be annual wedding anniversary celebrations.
She was riding a bus when, at 16th and Bryant in San Francisco, she first saw the love of her life.
Mary Roberts describes him: "Black jeans, white T-shirt, black leather jacket, boots."
So what's a bus-riding teenager to do?
"I got off the bus and I met him," she said.
Later, she described the mystery man to her brother's fiancée. "He sounds like my brother, Joe," she said.
"I fell hopelessly in love with him," Mary Roberts said.
He went into the service; she finished high school. They married July 21, 1962, at Mission Dolores. Their photo was in the Catholic Monitor, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, she recalled.
Today they live in Danville, and are parishioners at St. Joan of Arc in San Ramon.
"He's so wonderful," she said. "He has such a wonderful sense of humor," she said.
"God has been so good to us," she said, "to bless us this way."
It was July 16, 1965. The wedding party was finishing the rehearsal when the Rev. Don Osuna, the young assistant pastor of St. Jarlath Church, was telling the two witnesses where they would go after the ceremony to sign the marriage license.
"I was like a deer in the headlights," recalls the bride, Isabel Martinez.
The happy couple, hours from their wedding on a Friday night, did not have a license.
She didn't have a car; the groom lived in Fremont; she worked in San Francisco. The license had slipped their minds.
Father Osuna led the wedding party to his office. He suggested they get on their knees and pray.
He called Bishop Floyd Begin. Father Osuna told the bishop the young couple would have to drive to Reno to get a license at the hour.
But, Father Osuna recalls, the bishop reminded him that Alameda County Sherriff Frank Madigan was a parishioner at St. Jarlath. Father Osuna called the sheriff, who replied that he was a friend of County Clerk Jack Blue. He would call Blue.
Blue said his wife was ill; had she not been, they would have been gone to their cabin for the weekend. He agreed to open his office and provide the license on the morning of the wedding day.
Isabel Martinez recalls Father Osuna's admonition to the bride and groom: Whatever he tells you, you take it.
At the county clerk's office, Blue typed the certificate himself. The fee was $3.
"Mr. Blue did all the typing," she recalled. "He said, 'I'm sorry I'm slow. My girls usually do the typing.'"
His sole admonition: "I don't want it to get out that I was here on a Saturday."
Joe and Isabel Martinez kept their word all these years.
"Our marriage was meant to be," Isabel Martinez said.
Today, they live in Dublin, where they are parishioners at St. Raymond's Church. They have a son and two daughters. And five grandsons, ages 9 to 19. "All good fellows," she said.
Art and Maureen Richardson are celebrating 60 years of marriage. They married April 19, 1952 at then-St. Joseph Church in Alameda. The bride had attended St. Joseph elementary school and Notre Dame High School.
She was introduced to her husband-to-be, a Castlemont High School graduate, by his cousin, Claire Robles.
The groom was not a Catholic at the time, Maureen Richardson said, and they were married at the altar rail by Father Tom Kane.
The Richardsons made their first home in Alameda, and were parishioners at St. Joseph and later at St. Philip Neri. Fifteen years ago, they moved to Grass Valley, but have returned to be closer to family. They are parishioners at Our Lady of Grace in Castro Valley.
They have six children, 19 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary by going to "our favorite place," Yosemite, she said. Later, they had dinner with their six children and their spouses.
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