My bride and I were married 33 years ago today at Saint Mary’s in Paris, Illinois, the parish church of my youth. It was an unusual spring like day, the temperature reaching seventy. Our priest was “Fighting Father O’Hara” as I privately nick-named him. A crusty old man, he also had considerable Irish charm when he wished to use it, and he was kindness incarnate in the instruction he gave my Methodist bride prior to our marriage. She had attended Mass with me since our engagement in May of 1982 and Father O’Hara helped set the stage for her joining the Church with his passion for the Faith, for which he would have gladly died any number of deaths.
My Mom supervised the reception and was in her glory. Little did I know that the cancer that would take her life on Easter Sunday 1984 had reappeared, she and my Dad not wanting to mar the day with bad news. My Dad died in 1991, a week prior to my bride and I learning she was pregnant with our twins. My father-in-law, who joined the Navy at 17 after Pearl Harbor, died in 1997. My mother-in-law survives and we hope to see her at Christmas. Both couples gave great examples of loving life long marriages, and the success of my marriage I attribute to the grace of God, my ever patient bride and them.
Asking my bride to marry me was the wisest thing I have ever done. (Whether saying yes was the wisest thing she has ever done, I will leave for her silent opinion!) A happy marriage is one of God’s greatest blessings and throughout 33 years of life, death, joy, tears, triumphs and defeats, we have been very happy.