On May 30, 2015, my dear friends Joseph and Marion got married and it was such a wonderful day: the Mass at St. Paul’s was beautiful and the reception at All Saints was fun and full of love. I was blessed to emcee the reception that evening, and as part of the program I presented the following story about Joseph and Marion: their meeting, the courting period, their dating, and the proposal.
In the fall of 2011, the Catholic Church was preparing to embrace a new translation and new parts for the Mass. Little did Joseph and Marion know that God was preparing them to celebrate a big change via a sacrament as well…but 4 years down the road.
The story of Joseph and Marion begins at World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain in the summer of 2011. They traveled to Spain in different groups but frequently were at the same venues. On one such occasion, Marion noticed 2 things out of the corner of her pretty eye: a huge Canucks flag being waved amidst the crowd, and the absolutely HUGE HAIRDO on the guy waving the flag.
Fast forward a couple of months and both Joseph and Marion were at a workshop at Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta to learn about the new Mass parts. Minvera the matchmaker introduced Joseph to Marion.
Things started off rather auspiciously when Joe greeted Marion, “Peace be with you” and Marion started to reply with “And also with you.” Joe snapped back, “WRONG! You should be granting peace to my spirit, NOT ME!”
Right away, Marion recognized that this was no ordinary man she was dealing with. Because ordinary men don’t have hair in which you can hide a small child.
Once Marion got passed the hair, both literally and figuratively, she found Joe to be very friendly. Extremely friendly. Frighteningly friendly. Creepily friendly. Meanwhile, Joe thought Marion was cute. Extremely cute. Cute enough to act friendly towards.
A few months later, the matchmaker invited Joe to join Marion and her in the worship group PS 98. Thinking that the PS stood for “Por Sure”, Joe joined right away. Joe asked Marion if she was Filipino. Marion asked Joe if he had heard of clippers. Truly, Marion didn’t talk to Joe much at the practices because he reminded her a bit of her ex boyfriend. Adding insult to injury, Joe didn’t know the lyrics to the iconic N-SYNC classic “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” Although he could recite every single word of Evangelii Nuntiandi.
At Rise Up Vancouver at the end of the month, they chatted a bit more and they continued with the occasional exchange throughout the first half of 2012.
In mid-August 2012, Marion and Joe went to see Minerva off at the airport as she left for her first year away with CCO. Staying true to her Filipino roots, Minerva was 3 hours late in arriving to the airport, leaving Joe and Marion was 180 minutes to kill.
They ate at Tim Horton’s, saw the matchmaker off, and then went to the airport park to watch the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. I guess Halley’s Comet and Orion were busy that night.
Jason, Manuel and Patrick showed up an hour later and – in a scene reminiscent from a bad romantic movie – started to shower Joe and Marion with love songs from afar, complete with a guitar. After arriving in a car. Before heading to the bar.
Inspired by their conversation and the music of the St. Paul’s Boy Band, Marion told Joe: “If I was ever called to marriage, I’d want to make my husband so happy.”
They continued to get to know each other and before long, it was time for their first date. Marion picked Joe up from his house in Richmond and upon seeing each other, they hugged and didn’t let go. Once they finally did, they ended up holding hands and didn’t let go. When they finally did, they kissed for the first time. Thankfully ,they let go. And this was all within the first 10 minutes of their first date. Joe hadn’t moved that fast since the last 2 for 1 sale at the skinny jeans store.
They ended up accomplishing a lot on that first date: they went to Granville Island, ate at the Sandbar, took the Aquabus, walked around False Creek – praying the Liturgy of the Hours of course – and watching the musical comedy the Altar Boyz.
The two lovebirds continued to get to know each other by eating pizza, watching movies, making music, going on walks and hikes, and watching the Canucks on TV.
Well, truth be told, Joe watched the Canucks on TV while Marion fell asleep…only awakening when the Canucks scored or if it was time to eat.
Finally, on August 13, 2014 – just 3 years after meeting – Joe was ready to take the next step. The remarkable night started off in rather unremarkable fashion as Joe and Mikey played video games on the PS4 while Marion sat bored out of her mind and wondering why she jammed out on her work friends for this.
After the 2 San Jose brothers got sick of shooting at each other –while wearing earphones no-less – Joe and Marion met some friends at White Spot for Pirate Paks because that’s just how they roll. Then they went to the airport park…the same park where they watched the meteor shower 2 years prior.
Joe said to Marion, “Remember when you said that you couldn’t wait to make your husband happy and give everything to him? Well that’s you’ve been doing for me.”
Marion was about to respond but got slightly distracted by the 2 strange Filipino men lurking in the bushes.
Joe continued by dropping down on one knee and asking Marion to marry him.
Marion, in shock, exclaimed “Aren’t you supposed to put the ring on me first?”
Joe replied, “HAH…you haven’t said yes yet!”
Marion said yes, Joe liked it and put the ring on it, and Cio and Pat Guevara emerged from the bushes with camera equipment in tow.
Joseph and Marion: look at this room and at all the people who are here to celebrate with you tonight. And what a beautiful celebration it has been…starting with the wonderful Mass. In journeying with you over the past few months, it’s very clear that you’ve always kept God at the centre of everything you are doing…because as you’ve themed today, “We love because He first loved us.”
It’s an honour to be part of such a blessed day. A day full of love, of sacrifice, and of faith. But we shouldn’t be surprised. Your names are JOSEPH and MARION.
Today you stood as Altar Boy and Altar Girl and have become one in the sacrament of matrimony. May God continue to SHOWER you with His love. And the cool thing is that you won’t have to go to an airport park to experience it.
May God bless you.