The following comes from a Feb. 11 story in Angelus News.

Refugio Alvarado, 79, and Maria de Jesus Alvarado, 77, agree that celebrating 60 years of marriage is wonderful, but they are particularly proud of their 100 living descendants in the form of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“We created a small village,” said Maria, who spoke through a translator. “Generating 100 people from two people is amazing.”

Refugio and Maria were one of nearly 40 couples from around Southern California who gathered to renew their wedding vows at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, which marked this year’s World Marriage Day. The renewals took place at both the English and Spanish Masses, which were presided over by Archbishop José H. Gomez.

“Love each other, stay together, work hard,” Maria said, adding that they are the secret ingredients to a long marriage. She first met her husband, who is two years older, when she was 12-years-old. They dated for five years before getting married in 1959.

Together they have eight children, five boys and three girls, all of whom married and had families of their own. The close-knit family often see one another even if just to grill in the backyard or play at the park with the kids.

“The children make sure that we are OK. They call and check in on us and include us in their activities,” Maria said. “What’s important is to stay together. Our children are excellent husbands and wives. They are excellent children. To me, they are perfect,” Refugio added.

The wedding anniversaries ranged from 25 years to 70 years.