Today is our second wedding anniversary! It also happens to be the feast day of Pope Saint John Paul the Great! I LOVE that our anniversary falls on this great saint’s feast day, but the funny thing is… we didn’t plan that. (Thank you Holy Spirit, for working that out for us!) In fact, Joe and I didn’t even pick our own wedding date… it was picked for us before we were even officially engaged!
It all started in the fall of 2015. Joe and I had been talking for a few months about getting married, and we both agreed that we would love to have a fall wedding. We started visiting jewelry shops together, just for us to both get an idea of what type of ring I would like (or so I thought). I thought it would be a while before we actually got engaged!
I had mentioned to my mom a few times that Joe and I were ring shopping, and that we wanted a fall wedding. We also knew that we definitely wanted to get married in the parish where I grew up, that we wanted our pastor and close family friend, Fr. John Riccardo, celebrate the wedding, and that we wanted to have the reception in the church social hall (it’s really big and really nice!). Apparently towards the end of 2015, my mom started doing a little investigating of her own and discovered that the church social hall was getting booked up for many of the weekends in the upcoming coming fall. She also talked to Fr. John, and found out that he only had two available weekends for the entire fall of 2016.
One day in November, I came home from work and my parents kind of cornered me, telling me they had something to talk to me about. My mom explained how she had talked to some people at the parish and realized that there was very little opportunity to book the social hall and schedule Fr. John for the fall. So… she worked it out with Fr. John and with the parish to lock in the social hall and Fr. John for a Saturday in October. “….So??” I asked, “When am I getting married then??” At first, I was a little upset. I didn’t even know if Joe was planning to propose any time soon!! But I told Joe the whole story that night, and to my surprise, he was relieved! He told me that he knew if we wanted a fall wedding, he needed to propose quickly so we could start booking venues and vendors, but since the date was already locked in, he felt a lot less pressure to propose right away!
A month later, Joe was visiting for the annual Salter family Christmas party. In the middle of the party, the whole family was going to say a rosary together, and Joe and I volunteered to lead the rosary. Just as I was getting ready to make the sign of the cross, Joe stood up and announced that he had something to say before we started the rosary. (!!!) I could not believe it! I had NO idea that he even had a ring yet! (I thought for sure I’d be able to tell once he had bought it… guess not!) So, in front of my whole family, he proposed!! After lots of celebrating and hugging, Joe and I led the family in a rosary as our first act as an engaged couple!
After the rosary, people jokingly yelled, “So when’s the date??” Joe and I looked at each other, laughed and shrugged, and replied, “October 22nd!” At first people thought we were joking, but when they realized we were serious, they said, “It’s like you guys planned that before you were even engaged!” Sure seems like it. 😉
I knew JPII’s feast day was in October, but somehow I never really made the connection that our wedding day was going to fall on that feast day. It wasn’t until Fr. John started the homily at our wedding Mass that he reminded us of that feast day, and he emphasized JPII’s beautiful influence on the vocation of marriage.
I was still fairly young when JPII died and Pope Benedict XVI became our pope, so I didn’t actually know a lot about him until recently. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I watched the movie Pope John Paul II with John Voight (highly recommend!) and I was blown away by his life – all the loss and suffering he experienced in Poland; all the incredible wisdom he exhibited as a young man, priest, bishop, and Pope; and the profound courage and hope he maintained through it all! After our wedding, I knew I wanted to learn more about John Paul II and truly embrace him as an advocate, intercessor, and patron for our marriage and family. (Which is why I am currently reading his biography, Witness to Hope!)
I feel so blessed to share our anniversary with this great saint’s feast day, and I cannot wait to continue learning more about his life and seeking his intercession and guidance in our marriage!
Saint John Paul the Great, pray for us!!