125 married lives celebrated at the Golden Mass in North Jersey

The secret to a long marriage? Here's the recipe that worked for a New Jersey couple who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — It's not a secret recipe — not by a long shot. But a simple mix of “love, patience, understanding and trust” has worked wonders for Marie and Thomas Johnson over the course of their 50-year marriage … and for nearly 125 other couples who recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversaries in Essex County.

Hundreds of people attended the Archdiocese of Newark's annual Golden Jubilee Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart on June 2. (watch the video below).

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The archdiocese serves 1.3 million Catholic residents of Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.

The couple, who traveled from across North Jersey to attend the ceremony, held their wedding rings as Cardinal Joseph Tobin praised their love for each other and called them “inspirations.”

After the service, Tobin met with each couple to personally congratulate them on their anniversary and presented them with gold pins featuring intertwined wedding rings in front of a cross.

Johnson attended the ceremony with her husband Thomas, whom she has been married to for 50 years.

“The secret to a long marriage is love, patience, understanding and, most of all, faith in the Lord,” said the Park Ridge resident. “That's what has helped us – and we're happy to be here to celebrate.”

Other couples present at the event spent even more time together: some celebrated their 65th or even 70th anniversaries.

“It is a joy to host this Mass every year because these couples deserve to be recognized – they are a great testimony of marriage,” said Brian Caldwell, director of the archbishop’s Office of Family Life Ministry.

“The last few years have been tough and many young couples are struggling,” Caldwell said. “This fair gives them hope because they can see couples who have endured everything life has thrown at them.”

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Anna Harden

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