In 1987 we got married. My wife’s name is Mary. We did the deed in her hometown in Western Mass. I have since realized that priests may only get one or two Mary-and-Joseph combinations during a career. The local priest made the most of it. “Joseph and Mary” — “Mary and Joseph” — he must have hit the theme at least 10 times. (By then end, I was half expecting the Angel Gabriel to come down and tell me, “Hey champ, you can’t touch her tonight.”)
To get to the altar as a Catholic you need to take a Pre-Cana course. It is one of the best things The Church does. It stops you for a minute and gets you to think before tying the knot. Like everyone else, they have seen how much fun it is to untie the knot when it doesn’t work out. We were both living around Philly at the time so we went to a program run at St Joe’s in Aston. Of course, our Pre-Cana was moderated by a Father Joe. We did a one day intensive Pre-Cana where older couples shared their lives openly about Communication, Money, Sexuality, and Spirituality. Mary and I were already pretty good prior to that day, but it was a good experience if for no other reason than to perform a double check.
Six months later, we are on our honeymoon in Italy. We are not big planners, so we reserved a couple of days at each end in Rome to get our bearings and set out. One of the coolest little towns in Italy is Assisi, you may have heard of St. Francis. We get there at the same time as a big festival.
We are checking into all the inns and there is no room anywhere. At one of the hotels, the last one we are trying before we set out for the next town, we run into Father Joe — Pre-Cana Father Joe from St. Joe’s. He’s traveling with a bishop from Philly. (I thought he was a monsignor at the time, but a little research showed he was a bishop.)
“Hey Father Joe, How’s it going?”
“You guys got married?”
“Yup — we are just driving around the country for our honeymoon.”
The priests give our marriage a blessing in stereo then asked what our plans were.
“Yeah, Mary and Joseph — no room at the inn here — we are about to head out.”
The priests look at each other and laugh. Father Joe keeps us in conversation for another minute or two as we didn’t notice the bishop step away and talk quietly to the manager.
As we are saying our goodbyes and thanking them for the blessing they tell us to wait.
The next thing we know we are setting up in a room overlooking the plains outside of Assisi. The view was magical.
We never saw either priest again. It’s been 24 years, the blessing is still working. (We’ll take whatever help we can find.)
We didn’t realize it at the time, but the bishop from Philly was Pope John Paul II’s Head of Communications he later became a Cardinal.
Cardinal Foley got a new gig this weekend So, I figure he can get this thank you note from where he’s sitting now. Thanks for the room at the inn and especially the blessing.
Joe penned his love story and it was also published in The Huffington Post–
From the incomparable Lucinda Williams:
when leaders can’t be trusted
when heroes let us down
and innocence lies rusted frozen
beneath the ground
and the destitute isolated
we’ve all been forgotten
and the fruit trees we planted are withered
the abused and magnificent
suffer from infection
and the promises were given
but never with intention
war becomes common place,
secrets overheard and violence,
big business and love
is just a word
why do we marry?
why do we fall in love?
keep on believing in love
love is a mighty sword,
love is a weapon,
love is a lesson and we,
we are the conquerors
we are the soldiers
we are the lovers
that’s why we fall in love
why we believe in love
that’s why we marry
A long road trip can make or break a couple. Blake and Lindsay were driving from Tennessee to California when they took a detour to visit family and friends in Texas. Somewhere between San Antonio and Lubbock, Blake took yet another detour–onto a side country lane where wildflowers bloomed wildly by the side of the road. He told Lindsay he needed to stretch and she got out of the car too, and then in a rush of magical moments he bent down on one knee, popped the question and she said yes(!).
They are planning to marry in May 2013 and then begin their life together in Singapore(!). We wish them many decades of love, joy and adventure.
You can read how they met in our archives.
I was divorcing my first husband when I met Bruce. He lived in the neighborhood, but I didn’t know him much at all. He started coming around when I broke off my first marriage. He kept coming around and soon we were always together. I had my two girls from my first marriage and Bruce had five kids. We stayed together, without any rings or certificates, for more than a decade. Then we broke up, and I fell in love with another man and had another baby (a boy this time). The relationship didn’t last. Soon again I found myself with Bruce. Now it’s been 20+ years since we started our romance. Still no rings, no certificates, but we love each other. At this point, Bruce says, “This is it. I’m not letting you get away again!”
How did you and yours celebrate Valentine’s Day?
What special gifts were delivered or handmade?
On my way home from work last night, I stopped in a Hallmark store, and found it comical how many men and women were buzzing around for that last-minute card or box of chocolates!
On the train, there were dozens of men carrying bouquets of lovely, bright flowers. There were lots of heart-shaped balloons too. It was a festive commute.
This has got to be this blog’s favorite day of the year, right? Instead of a long, sentimental post though, I’m readying Valentine’s for some of Philly’s cute students but, I can’t find my markers, so crayons will have to do for these Valentines!. So—
In the simplest terms—I wish all of our readers a Happy Valentine’s Day, and whoever it is or whatever it is that makes you melt and smile—I hope you’re loaded up with it today!
It was winter, morning and snow fell like rain. We were the only two foolish enough to venture out. She approached from the opposite corner. She smiled.
I fell for her then; literally.
How I loved your mother is how I love you; like a smile in a snow storm.
The author of this love story, Doris W. Foster, highlights a Valentine’s Day past. The story speaks volumes, and it does so in 50 words! (There’s a challenge for our readers, can you write your story in 50 words??!!) It is also award-winning—it was featured in The Bethlehem Press Valentine’s Day Contest, and was one of three winners. It’s good, really good—
February 14, 1945 – The G.I. I met at the USO a few days earlier and I went to the Ambassador Theatre in St. Louis. As we crossed the street after the movie, a cinder blew into my eye. A doctor removed it the next day. Over 60 years later, we still talk about it. (Copyright reverted to Doris W. Foster)