Margaret and Richard Ledesma on Aug. 1, 1964.
Richard and Margaret Ledesma were married 50 years ago at St. Peter Martyr Church in Pittsburg, at 2 in the afternoon on the hottest day of the summer, Aug. 1, 1964.
Fifty years later, they were blessed on their golden anniversary at Church of the Good Shepherd — their parish church that was not built at the time of their wedding. The blessing came at the hands of Archbishop Bernadito Auza, who was appointed this summer as the apostolic nuncio to the United Nations. The archbishop was visiting the Pittsburg parish, and celebrated the 8 a.m. Mass on Aug. 3.
Two days before, the Ledesmas, thinking they were going to a semiformal birthday party for a friend, were surprised with a 50th anniversary party hosted by their children, Laura and Michael. Their five grandchildren were among the 150 guests who honored them.
Margaret and Richard Ledesma will be among the couples coming to the cathedral for an Oct. 19 Mass for those celebrating 25 years of marriage, or more.
What's the secret to an enduring marriage?
"You have to work hard to keep a marriage going," Margaret Ledesma said. "You do the best you can, you succeed.
"You have to give and you have to make your mind up it's going to work," she said.
Among the rewards, she said, are "to see my children be happily married and thriving and to see my grandchildren. They're as sweet as they can be. They're kind human beings."
The Ledesmas have had their share of challenges as well. A 10-hour back surgery last year put Margaret Ledesma in the hospital for six days and the rehabilitation center for 15. She could do nothing at home when she returned there. "That man did everything," she said of her husband. He even learned how to do laundry for her.
|Wedding Anniversary Celebration|
When: Oct. 19, 10 a.m. Mass
Where: Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, presiding
anniversary or 510-267-8395
Register: By Oct. 8; $20 fee. Additional guests: $10
"The man truly does love me," she said.
The Ledesmas have been active at Good Shepherd Parish, even before the church was built and Mass was celebrated in a storefront church. Their daughter was baptized at the storefront church; their son at the newly built church.
The bride and groom that topped their wedding cake are in the hutch in their home; she considered it a sign that there would be no party when the little couple stayed put. But the anniversary party had a different cake topper: flowers and a number 50.
Also in a place of honor of their home is a beer stein Richard Ledesma brought back from his time in the Army in Germany before they were married. He gave the stein — which he had filled with spare change during his time away — to his bride-to-be upon his return. In keeping with Mexican custom, the groom pays for the bride's gown.
Her long-sleeved gown for the August day cost a fortune for its time — $150. The cash in the stein had it covered.
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