Yes, I know that I normally do a Thursday Thirteen, but today’s a special day and I’m going to pass on the Thursday Thirteen this week and tell you the story behind why today’s a special day for me.
Four years ago today, at approximately 5:40 p.m., Hubby and I had our marriage blessed by the Catholic Church. You’re probably trying to figure out if we were married in 1984, wondering why in the world did it take almost 18½ years for the marriage to be blessed by the Catholic church? Because it took me that long to work up the nerve to get it done.
When Hubby and I were married in April 1984, we were married by a municipal court judge in the county where we live. I’m a "cradle Catholic" – born and raised a Catholic. Baptized as an infant, First Communion and Confession in the second grade, Confirmation in my sophomore year of high school, CCD and Mass every week. Hubby is a divorced non-Catholic. The Catholic Church doesn’t approve of Catholics marrying divorced non-Catholics. The parish priest I talked to in 1984 said that we couldn’t get married in the Church. It never dawned on me to get a second opinion.
Because of that conversation, and because I found out a year later that the parish priest that told us "no" was having an affair with a married female parishioner, I spent the next dozen years as a non-practicing Catholic. As I got older, I found out that I missed the traditions and the ceremony of Mass. I learned that not all priests are creepy hypocrites. Some of them were pretty cool. What finally made me take the leap and re-join the Church was the realization that if I wasn’t a practicing Catholic, I couldn’t have a Catholic funeral. For some reason, that made me very sad. So I decided it was time to find a parish (and a priest) that I liked and re-join the Church.
After I joined the parish, I made an appointment to talk to the parish priest about having my marriage blessed. Father C was very cool about the whole thing. Said he didn’t see any problems with it, but he needed to talk to Hubby before he could give me a definite answer. Oh, yikes, Hubby talking to a priest. Yea, that’s gonna be fun. But Hubby was very supportive and didn’t hesitate when I told him that the priest wanted to talk to him. The meeting went well. Hubby charmed Father C (our parish priest) and Father C charmed Hubby. At the end of the meeting, Father C said he didn’t see any problems and that after we filled out some paperwork and waited on the official word from the Archdiocese, we could have a ceremony to have our marriage blessed by the Church. Oh happy day for me!! We filled out the paperwork, the Archdiocese gave their blessing, and we picked Saturday, September 28 for our convalidation (that’s the official name the church calls this particular ceremony) day.
All along, I told Hubby that all I wanted was me and him in front of a priest with our families watching. No big fancy dress for me, no tux for him, no fuss, no big deal. More importantly, I promised that I didn’t expect him to celebrate the date as an additional wedding anniversary. That was the honest truth. I just wanted a simple ceremony like the one we had in front of the judge in 1984. That’s exactly what we did. Father C squeezed our ceremony in after 4:30 Mass and right before a 6:30 wedding. Yea, the bride for the 6:30 wedding was a little tiffed that she had to wait an extra 30 minutes before she could decorate the church, but she got over it. The Convalidation Ceremony was about as long as our original wedding ceremony. Even though I had told Hubby that I didn’t want a big fuss, he thought that it was a special occasion that called for a special gift. He surprised me with a diamond anniversary band to wear with my original wedding ring.
We don’t celebrate the day with presents or a special dinner out or anything, but I always get a warm feeling on September 28. I remember how Hubby went out of his way to give me my dream of a little church wedding . . . . even if it took me 18½ years to work up the courage to do it.