Virg and Sylvia Mostek are blessed by Father Jeff Mollner at St. Bernadette Parish in Bellevue. The blessing was part of the couple’s 70th anniversary celebration in July. COURTESY PHOTO


Couple celebrates 70 years together, while archdiocese is set to honor all marriages

It all started with a case of mistaken identity.

A young roller skater from Columbus thought she recognized a friend from school wearing a red-and-black plaid jacket at the local roller skating rink. So she gave him a slap on the back and said “Hi, Herman.”

When the young man turned around, Sylvia, the skater, realized her mistake and met Virg, from nearby Duncan. The two teens may not have realized it at the time, but that chance encounter was the beginning of something great.

Virg and Sylvia, who is also known as Sam, would eventually become Mr. and Mrs. Mostek and spend 70 years in marriage, delighting in five children, 13 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. They celebrated their anniversary with family and friends this summer at their parish, St. Bernadette in Bellevue.

Marriage is truly great and something to celebrate, a sacrament instituted by God and signifying the union of Christ and His Church, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Recognizing that dignity, the Archdiocese of Omaha will be holding its annual Marriage Celebration, the second this year, on Sunday, Sept. 10, at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. The first was held Aug. 27 at St. Mary Church and Sacred Heart Parish Center in Norfolk.

All married couples are invited to the remaining celebration, including those newly married, those celebrating milestone anniversaries and all witnesses to Holy Matrimony.

Events will begin with a Rosary at 2 p.m., followed by a Mass celebrated by Archbishop George J. Lucas at 2:30 p.m. and a reception in the parish center immediately after Mass.

Anyone interested in attending can register at For more information, contact Jodi M. Phillips at or at 402-558-3100.

The number of couples getting married has been in decline nationally and in the archdiocese. About 4,300 couples were married in the archdiocese from 2018 to 2022, down from about 5,500 during the previous five years, according to archdiocese records.

The sacrament of Matrimony gives couples a special bond and graces to persevere in their love. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to ‘be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,’ and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. 

“In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

The Mosteks, with their lengthy marriage, are a rarity. Just one in a thousand couples in the United States make it to the 70-year milestone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

They married at age 19 at St. Anthony Church in Columbus, when Virg was on a leave from his service in the Navy. Their families had 10 days to prepare, Sylvia said.

For much of their marriage, he worked long hours repairing and painting car bodies at work and at home in their garage, while she took care of their five children, including a handicapped daughter.

Members of St. Bernadette Parish since 1977, the Mosteks also have had their share of suffering, with the deaths of parents, siblings and perhaps most heart-breaking to them, a son-in-law.

But they’ve prayed through the ups and downs, they said, and learned to always be honest, communicate with each other and share their workload.

The two have had disagreements and “harsh discussions,” Sylvia said, but by evening they’ve typically had the joy of making up.

The Mosteks, now 89, do almost everything together, whether its chores, worshiping at Mass or going to family Baptisms and birthday parties, their daughter, Kim Mahoney said.

“They’re two peas in a pod,” Mahoney said. “You can tell that they genuinely love each other. That’s been the case their whole life.”

The Mosteks celebrated their anniversary in July at a Sunday Mass and with a special blessing and surprise reception, with between 100 and 150 people attending.

Now, after 70 years together – through all the joys, sorrows and challenges – the two look back with no regrets, they said.

The Mosteks are seen in a framed image from their first day of wedded life, July 15, 1953. COURTESY PHOTO




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