The Wedding

Jacob, Russ, Sonja and Lucas
Mikos, Jenny, Will and Maddie

There was only one priority for me when it came to our wedding. I wanted the Mass and the music to touch the hearts of our guest. Our parish at St. Norbert is anointed in many ways; we have one of the best music directors and some of the best cantors. I met with John, the music director to discuss the selections of songs,  and with his direction we were able to put together the most beautiful program for the ceremony. I never told Mike until the night before the wedding that I had hired a trumpeter for the service. I knew from the start that the trumpet would make all the difference, and I wanted to surprise him. It was amazing, and the cantor, Jonathan, singing opened our sense of hearing through his powerful voice. Click her for a short video IMG_7689

Father Moneypenny

We are so blessed to have Father Moneypenny as our pastor, he brings love and unity to our community. I remember once I had a meeting with him about an important matter and when it came time for me to register a complaint about something, it was meaningless and petty  because he was so kind and understanding. My problem was solved by his words of wisdom and he put my humility in check. It was an honor to have him be part of our Nuptial Mass.

The COVID Jinx

Mike had warned me that COVID would have an impact on the number of people attending, but I did not take it too seriously. His big concern was me not being around large crowds and to stay COVID free. On Monday, the week of the wedding, I was feeling sick. I had this unusual pain in my chest and thought for sure it was Omicron. I overdosed on extra strength aspirins and chased it with  a couple of swigs of honey-flavored cough medicine, then I popped a cold medicine/cough drop in my mouth. When morning arrived I was still not well. I did not attend Mass for two days for fear of spreading the ghost virus. I kept this little battle private  and prayed over myself for a quick healing. I was experiencing an unnatural fear and was stressing over the fact that I could have COVID. Even though Mike suggested that I take a test right before the wedding, I wanted nothing to do with this. I continued with the regime of over-the-counter drugs believing that God would see me through. Finally, on Thursday it was lifted and I felt great.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My sister Norma never rallied and was unable to travel due to a bad case of COVID (she was fully vaccinated). With all the prayers going forth for her recovery, it was not meant to be. I tried my best to occupy my mind on the good and concentrated on praying for all that had responded “yes” to attend. I knew under normal circumstances that my brother George and his wife Mary would attend but he too came down with COVID (also fully vaccinated).

I was excited to see Torie, Stacie, Rocky and his fiancé Angela, and my sister Jo. The atmosphere of the Omicron was swirling everywhere and there was an outbreak in the school where Torie and Stacie’s children attend. Then I got the call about the change of plans. They decided to bring all three of their kids. Jo, also had added two of her grandchildren and her son Nick was also attending. At this point with all the cancellations, their neighbors would have been welcomed as well. My sister Jo and I quickly bonded to an other level of sisterhood and I thank God that she was there to support us.

On the morning of the wedding, while Sarah was doing my hair, I got a call from one of my nephews about his daughter hurting her shoulder and that they were on the way to the hospital.  Then came a text for yet  another cancellation due to COVID. I wanted so badly to text back “So you woke up with COVID this morning?” There were other text messages that really upset me like, “We were exposed to COVID over the weekend, so we’re not going to make it to the wedding.” News flash! The moment you walk out your door, your exposed!! I was very upset with this news and dropped an “F” bomb, well maybe several. Sarah gently led me off the cliff by grabbing my phone. When I finally calmed down the thought came to me that I could not get married in this state of mind. I called Fr. Leonard and asked him if I could go to confession before the service. While the musicians were tuning up their instruments I was confessing for my foul mouth.

Father Leonard Mary

If you are are regular  reader of this Blog, by now you know the relationship Mike and I have with this holy man of God. Father Leonard, is not only our friend but also like a son to us. He has been through many of our trials and blessed times. He has been part of our lives for over twenty-five years. Both Mike and I wanted him to officiate our special day. Father’s part was especially important because he knows us personally. He belongs to the order of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. You can catch him on television on a regular basis. EWTN is a global Catholic network  on Spectrum  it’s on Channel 460.

 

Mikos, Nick, Larry, Father Leonard, and Torie
Maddie, Jenny, me, Stacie, Sonja, Jo, Julia, Angela, and Sophie
Torie and Stacie bring the gifts
Angela, Me, Jo and Stacie
How low can you go

The Reception

On a clear beautiful day, over looking Orange County, the sunset outlined Catalina Island for us as we stood out to look at His glorious creation. Orange County Mining Company provided the best service, and the food was excellent,  DJ, Eddie was on target with the music. I loved watching my grandchildren dance, Wil, Lucas, and Jake were so adorable. If I were giving out awards, Maddie would have gotten it for best dancer.  And to the best dressed Torie wins hands down. What a magical night! Thank you brother Mike, Rong, Nadia, Michael and to my cousin Nellie, Danny and Maggita, it was wonderful to see you.

My prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for all Your wonderful provisions. From the Mass to the reception all was perfect, including the weather. Thank you to all who traveled from long distances to attend our blessed event. May You continue to guide us in all that we do. Thank You, Lord, for always watching over us. Amen.

 

 

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The Wedding Countdown

The beautiful, canvas, useless wedding chart

It started on Monday with a phone call from the cantor. He could not keep the commitment to sing at the wedding. I reminded him, “But we planned this three months ago, and you agreed.” When he attempted to explain the reason, it didn’t matter because he was not available, I had to move into “Plan B” and within five minutes the problem was solved. The last three months have been dedicated to prayer for our wedding. It’s not the only prayer, nevertheless it is a priority this week.

The COVID Wedding

Who plans a wedding in the midst of a pandemic? We did. On Tuesday our grandson Lucas came home from school and went straight to bed, complaining about a severe headache. He did not surface until 6:00 p.m. The following morning our daughter Sonja called to tell me that Russ gave Lucas a COVID test, and that he was positive. My heart sank. I went into prayer mode and begged God to help us. Mike came into the kitchen and asked, “Can we talk?” Again my heart sank. He cut right to the chase,  “This is really bad, we need to postpone the wedding. My reply, “Can we please give it a few more days? Please?” Mike walked out without saying a word, which I interpreted to mean “the wedding is on!” Everyone was agitated with me. Sonja was upset with me because I said, “Well, it’s only Tuesday, he’ll have time to recover before the wedding.” I did not mean to come off as insensitive  but Lucas is part of the wedding party.

I did a further investigation about the COVID home testing kit. Sonja said that when Russ, (her husband) opened the kit the cotton swab flew across the room and landed on the floor. Russ decided to use a regular Q-tip to administer the test. So the entire time I was suspicious about Lucas’ positive results. They decided to keep both boys from school because the entire world is going Pentecostal if they hear that someone is infected.  Sonja took Lucas to get a PCR test; this test is almost 100 percent  accurate. No one knows how to prepare for a pandemic, and it’s crystal clear that we are all in the dark about this mysterious virus. Lucas’ real test results were not going to be available for a few days. Finally, on Friday, he tested negative; he had the flu.

On Wednesday my sister Norma came down with COVID symptoms. Norma and I are very close so her absence from my wedding would be devastating. Norma’s daughter and granddaughter are now sick. My brother George tested positive despite being fully vaccinated and boostered. I’m praying for them to have a full recovery.

Adoration

When I found out that all of  my sister’s family members  were sick and my brother tested positive, I had to go to Adoration. I drove to St. Martin De Porres Church in Yorba Linda, where they have perpetual adoration. There I poured out my heart for all the needs of others. I am praying for four women who are suffering with cancer and who need a miracle, I’m praying for someone who needs weekly dialysis, I’m  praying for all those who are suffering with COVID and for those who are suffering from emotional distress. I ended my prayer by reciting the rosary.

Do Not Fear

With all these obstacles, I never feared because I trust in God. I was stressed out but quickly came to my senses. Mike and I are one, but with the Sacrament of Marriage we will be fully bonded in Christ. I thank God for bringing us together. Mike is a gift to our family, and the love that we share for one another will continue to grow as we get older. The most important part of our wedding will be the Mass. Through prayer the Lord brings me back to the full circle of priorities; besides there are so many other matters that are much more critical than our wedding.

Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” [And] Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

The Wedding in Cana

When Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine, it was through the urging of His Mother. The Church in Cana is beautiful. This small village is mostly Muslim, so they do not share the reverence we do, but whenever I visit, I pray for marriages, especially mine. We Catholics are misunderstood when it comes to the Mother of Christ. We ask for her intercession and for her to invoke her Son to help us in our needs. In her words: “Do whatever he tells you.” This is an indication that Jesus responds to her request. So I’m asking Mother Mary to help me remain focused and for all details to work out for the glory of her Son Jesus.

 

Table numbers are a thumbs up!

The Seating Chart

My dear friend Jane came over a couple of weeks ago to work on the seating chart. We were so prepared with making sure all the guests were accounted for, and we did our best by seating them where they would feel comfortable. Then slowly the regrets came in. Before the beautiful chart was delivered, there were ten revisions. The only thing that did not change were the table numbers; they look great. Our godson, Marcus, is making us seating cards to avoid the confusion of the custom chart.

The Bride

I’m almost 70-years-old and my hair always needs to be colored. For some reason my husband likes my hair long and insists that I keep it at this length. I had it professionally colored by my friend Sarah, but she suggested that I have my eyelashes professionally done. At first I thought it was a ridiculous idea, but since it’s been years since using mascara, my eyes did needed  a little enhancing. When the lash tech was finished, I looked in the mirror all I could think of was those cows with really long eyelashes, and thought, “Dear Lord, do I look like that?” When I got home I hid from Mike for a few minutes but then we had to attend our grandson’s basketball game, Mike liked the change. When we got to the game, I tried not to have eye contact with Jenny (our daughter-in-law) but that was never going to happen, Jenny is always up in my business. “Oh my God! did you get eyelashes?” She asked. Now I have to go through the scrutiny from our daughter Sonja. Thank the good Lord that’s she’s out of town.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I cannot do anything without You in my life. I pray for all those suffering from physical pain. Lord, receive their pain as an offering for healing; let their prayers reach Your Holy throne. Lord, we look to You for everything, and trust that You will manifest in our lives and continue to guide our every path. Amen.

 

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The Long Overdo Wedding

The unknown pastor, me and Mike, January 25, 1972
The special Rosary
Our Rome wedding

I was never that little girl who dreamed about a fairytale wedding. Mike and I got married by a pastor we met on the night of our nuptials. I was nineteen and Mike was twenty-one. We did not elope because Mike asked my mother for my hand in marriage. She did not agree because we had only been dating for six months, and she wanted me to have a church wedding. Mike and I did not listen to my mother’s wise counsel. I did feel a sense of guilt for the impulsive decision, but we were young and in love.

 

Mike, Fr. Pat and me Rome wedding

The Special Rosary

This year Mike and I will be celebrating our 50th “golden” wedding anniversary. Mike had always supported all of my missionary trips but rarely accompanied me on the trips. One year, after our missionary work in Israel, we had an extended visit to Italy. For the first time Mike joined us in Turin. Fr. Pat, a priest from Ohio, served as our chaplain. The highlight of the trip was when we arrived in Rome. Joanne, our group leader, had arranged for us to renew our wedding vows at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. This was a wonderful surprise for both of us. As Father was performing the ceremony, a man interrupted the service. The stranger spoke in Spanish, explaining that he had to give me a gift. Fr. Pat told him, “Sir, we are in the middle of a wedding ceremony, can you please wait.” The man nodded his head, “yes.” Father continued with the service when the stranger again interrupted. “Please, I need to give them a gift (he was looking at me).” Father Pat, being a gracious man, allowed the stranger to present me with a rosary. This was no ordinary rosary. This is what I can recall of the Spaniard’s conversation: He asked me, “Do you know anything about Garabandal?” I had recently read about the apparition of the Blessed Mother in Garabandal, so I answered “Yes.” He went on to explain that he made the rosary with his own hands and that it had a piece of Conchita Gonzalez’ (one of the visionaries) prayer book that was kissed by the Blessed Mother. He added that God told him to give the rosary to me. There were a group of about 20 on this missionary trip, so when the others found out about the gift, they came running to the man to ask him for more rosaries. The man only had that one rosary, and it was meant for me. By this time Mike did not understand what was happening and thought this was staged as part of the marriage surprise. Mike thought that the stranger was in some way part of the ministry. It took some time, but we were all able to convince Mike that we were all just as surprised by this special wedding gift.

The Revelation

As far as I was concerned Mike and I were married by the Catholic Church that day with Fr. Pat officiating our vows in Rome. Well, only years later did I discover the truth. Our friend Fr. Leonard was visiting us when I mentioned  renewing our wedding vows. Fr. Leonard asked me, “Do you have the official certificate from the church?” I asked, “What do you mean? From Rome?” He said, “Yes.” I knew that I had no legal proof, so I asked him what that meant. He said, “Well, that means that you are not married by the Church and you and Mike have not entered into the Sacrament of Marriage through the Catholic Church.” I was disheartened with this announcement and knew this needed to be fixed. Since we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, Fr. Leonard suggested that we get married at St. Norbert, celebrating our wedding and blessing our 50th anniversary.

To get the ball rolling I had to request our Baptism, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation records, but this was March 2020, the genesis of COVID. The only thing that Mike recalled was that his sacraments were performed in either Los Angeles or San Bernardino.  With the church offices closed, all correspondence was via email. After three months the Diocese of San Bernardino provided the records. My information was much easier because all three of my sacraments were recorded at the same church in Brawley, California.

Announcing The Wedding

I shared with our family about our upcoming wedding, but the only member of the family who showed any excitement was our grandson Jacob; he was delighted that he was asked to be the ring bearer. Getting Sonja (our daughter) and Jenny (our daughter-in-law) on board was not an easy task. Asking our son Mikos to walk me down the aisle was also a bit of a challenge. Mikos is not giving me away; he’s just walking me down the aisle because I don’t want to fall! Our best friends, Larry and Helen, are standing in as best man and matron of honor.

The Wedding Dress

I am a first time-bride, so I had no idea where to get an appropriate wedding dress. I made several appointments with bridal shops. This was a horrible experience; first, because I’m an older bride and second, I did not want anything to do with a traditional wedding dress. Basically I was a bridezilla at the first shop. The following day I went to  Merry Me Bridal, the same place where we purchased Sonja’s wedding dress. The first dress the saleslady came out with was a long, beaded strapless dress with a plunging neckline! I wanted to scream, “Oh Hell No!” But I held my tongue. I finally told her what I wanted: “I don’t want to show my arms, my back, my bosom, and I want the dress to be ankle length.” With that said, it eliminated all  the wedding dresses. The only things left were mother-of-the bride dresses. Right when I was about to give up, I found an unusual, pleated forest green dress. I tried it on and I liked it, but the color was not going to work. As it turned out the dress could be made in a dusty blue which I call silver. I said “yes” to the silver dress.

The Planning

Before we could make the appointment with our pastor, Fr. Moneypenny, we had to have all of our paperwork in order. Our wedding anniversary is January 25th, but that falls on a Tuesday this year. We are getting married on 1/22/22! That was a great sign for us.

Soon after that I had to get the church music coordinated with the music director of the parish. I wanted to walk out to the Beatles song “All you need is love” but that is a big “no, no” for our diocese; no secular music. I wanted our granddaughter Maddie to sing our song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis, but that, too, was shot down. Our music will be beautiful because I know that the presence of God will be in the midst.

The flowers, photographer, DJ, church are all paid for, and as the day approaches I’m getting excited to see family and friends and to share this blessed event with them. Fr. Leonard Mary from EWTN will be officiating at our wedding and Fr. Moneypenny will concelebrate.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray that Your Holy Hands will be in every detail of this wedding. Bless our union, bless our families and our guests. Lord, keep all illnesses away from us; protect us from that dreaded COVID.  And may we glorify You as we become one in Your Holy Sacrament of Marriage. Lord, I pray for all marriages, especially those who are contemplating divorce. Please heal their relationships. Amen.

 

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