GOLD is precious because it is rare and hard to come by. A golden anniversary, 50 solid years, is truly a treasure. Just like gold, in order to mold it to something good and beautiful, it passes through high thermal intensities and electrical conductivity allowing it to become malleable, ductile and sectile. Being sectile, gold’s drawback is that it is a relatively soft metal and can be cut and severed, but it can be shaped into something valuable.
Not everyone is blest with 50 golden years of marriage. Just like its metal derivative, it goes through 50 years of heating, cooling, grinding, pounding to acquire its brilliant luster and chemical stability.
Ando Hernaez and Manon Campos are beautiful nuggets of gold who have the privilege, the opportunity of enjoying 50 years together with their children and grandchildren.
With two daughters, Prudence married to Raymond Chua with twins Julian and Luke and Denyse married to Jori Ignacio, with Daniella and James both living in New Jersey, United States of America, and Vanessa married to Francis Rementilla with Mateo and Zach in Toronto, Canada, physical distance was no hindrance to celebrate together this rare and once in a lifetime occasion.
Ando and Manon would make trips to visit their children, but rarely is the family complete. It was many years ago when the family was together in Provence, France but last Christmas, Manon said, they were all together for the first time complete with all the grandchildren.
The three daughters remembered Provence and thought it would be a good idea to go to Tuscany and celebrate their parents’ 50th anniversary.
An important highlight would be the renewal of vows and who will officiate that? Sharing the blessed desire with Monsignor GG Gaston, he connected the couple with Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston. As the family name connotes, Fr. Greg is a Silaynon.
Fr. Greg Gaston is the Rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome, which is the College of Filipino diocesan priests studying at Pontifical Universities in Rome, Italy. Personally, I met Fr. Greg, a very young and vibrant priest, three years ago when we stayed in Collegio Filippino.
Where would be the most significant place to have the marriage vows renewed, but no less than the seat of Catholicism, the Vatican, particularly at the Capella B.V. Delle Partoriente, GrotteVaticane, St. Peter's Basilica.
During the mass, all daughters did the offerings. Daniella sang Ikaw Lamang and James sang You are Mine. James was in Broadway’s King and I production while the little ones did the reading and one was an altar server. The youngest gave a tribute. Everyone had a role and very ecstatic doing them.
To chronicle the occasion, a professional photographer was hired and post nuptial scenes were taken at the Piazza de Popolo and Villa Borghese.
It was a purely family affair with no other guests save for Fr. Greg who joined them for the reception at Hotel de Russie at Via Babuino. With all the feasting done, everyone headed back to change from their Filipino finery and go about with their own agenda – some opting to watch a Vivaldi Strings concert.
The family stretched their bonding to the Tuscany area to be overwhelmed by the Renaissance splendor of Florence, Pisa and the areas under the Tuscan sun. And not to exclude a dip in the azure blue waters of the Amalfi coast in Positano and Sorrento.
Happy Golden Anniversary Ando and Manon! Where will the Diamond be?