In anticipation of the celebrations of World Marriage Day, scheduled around St. Valentine's Day each February for the last 13 years, searches are conducted nationally and internationally for the "longest-married couples."
Selected for statewide recognition at the annual World Marriage Day Mass Sunday at Baltimore's Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen are a Catonsville couple who have been married 71 years and a Northeast Baltimore couple with 70 years of marriage behind them.
But neither pair is the longest-married found this year by Worldwide Marriage Encounter Inc., sponsor of the annual celebrations in nearly 80 countries.
An Iowa couple, Charles "Pop" Carroll, 100, and his wife Emma, 98, have been married 80 years. They will be honored at their winter home in Zapata, Texas.
Locally, the top honor for 1994 goes to Leo and Lillian Kernan of St. Martin's Home on Maiden Choice Lane. They were married Aug. 7, 1922.
Health considerations will prevent them from attending the 3 p.m. Mass at the cathedral, 5300 N. Charles St., but runners-up Peter and Rose Niziolek, who were married June 6, 1923, expect to be present -- along with many Maryland husbands and wives marking 25 or 50 years of married life.
Mr. and Mrs. Niziolek, who live on Old Harford Road, are members of the St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Parish.
"God has given married love a great dignity, making it a sacramental sign of Christ's loving union with the church," Baltimore Archbishop William H. Keeler said in a World Marriage Day proclamation. He will officiate at Sunday's Mass.
A reception will follow in the Cathedral School gymnasium. Information: 374-1470 or 239-6353.
United against violence
Rep. Kweisi Mfume, the 7th District Democrat, will discuss urban crime and ways to "take back the streets" at a public Christian unity service this evening at West Baltimore's Bread of Life Baptist Church, North Fulton Avenue and West Baltimore Street.
The 7:30 p.m. program is sponsored by the Maryland Baptist Convention, headed by the Rev. Melvin B. Tuggle. For more information, call the Rev. Quay T. Rich at 566-5222 or 566-0735.
Ethical and moral questions raised by Dr. Jack Kevorkian's troubles with the law will be explored in a public program from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 19 at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road, Lutherville.
Scheduled speakers for "Assisted Suicide: A Forum" include the Rev. Frederick J. Hanna, a retired priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland; Sidney Hollander, whose Baltimore firm, Hollander, Cohen & McBride, conducts opinion research; Dr. Clarence Schulz of Sheppard Pratt Health Systems; and Jack Schwartz, chief counsel in the Maryland attorney general's office.
One of the subjects for discussion will be a proposal before the Maryland General Assembly to make physician-assisted suicides a criminal offense.
Admission is free to the program, which is sponsored by the church's Social Action Committee. Information: 825-6045.
Anne Pierson, author of "Mending Hearts, Mending Lives," will discuss her work with unwed mothers at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday at Bishop Cummins Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church, 2001 Frederick Road in Catonsville.
Mrs. Pierson and her husband, Jim, are co-directors of Loving and Caring Inc. in Lancaster, Pa. The nonprofit organization trains couples in many states to support and counsel unwed mothers.
Information: 744-3383 and 788-6565.
Bible's creation story
Jon Levensen, professor of Jewish studies at Harvard University, will discuss the Genesis account of creation at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday at Knott Hall on the Baltimore campus of Loyola College.
The lecture, "Sabbath, Exodus, Creation: What's the Connection?" is free to the public. Information: 617-2219.
Day before Lent
Salem United Methodist Church, 7901 Bradshaw Road in Upper Falls, will charge $4 for a traditional pancake supper from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. Information: 592-2543.