Claudia and Pete took very different paths to come to CatholicMatch--she was excited to join the site, while he was somewhat blase about the idea. But through the site they eventually connected and they finally met in person--in the Holy Land no less.
It was October of 2010 when then-33-year-old Claudia bought a laptop, and the first thing she did was to do a Google search for Catholic dating sites, and she found CatholicMatch. Claudia, a native Filipino living in Israel, did not have a credit card to take out a full membership. Paying by money order was possible, but when she went to the post office, she was told they could not send a money order outside the country.
Claudia was then referred to a bank, but when she got to the bank she was told they had only traveler's checks. "I went out of the bank with teary eyes," she recalled. "When I was in the elevator, I said 'God, I have done my best, but maybe this not for me. Maybe you have another plan for me.'"
She proceeded to live life as it was given to her, dating some of the local Israeli men, but realizing how much she really wanted a man who shared her faith. After eight months doing novenas and praying for God's will, she returned to the bank and found she had been Israel long enough to qualify for a credit card, and she immediately joined CatholicMatch.
Peter, five years younger than Claudia, wasn't exactly walking all over a foreign country trying to get access to CatholicMatch. His parents were after him to try online dating as a means of finding the right Catholic woman to settle down with. On the surface, the parents' comments had no impact, but underneath he was getting a strong sense that they might be right. "I'm not getting any younger," he recalled thinking. "I need to start looking."
The church bulletin with the ad for CatholicMatch had been tossed in the back of Peter's car. One day, when cleaning it out, the bulletin and the ad stared him in the face. It was the answer to a conundrum--Peter already knew he wanted to marry an international woman, but wondered where he would find her. Now he had an idea where to look, and Peter joined the site.
Peter and Claudia's paths didn't cross immediately. She received a lot of messages her first couple months on CatholicMatch and appreciated the people she met online, but there wasn't any special connection. Peter looked through a few profiles after joining, but didn't feel the connection. Even when he found Claudia, it took time for things to really warm up.
Peter sent a chat request to Claudia. She responded, but while she found him funny and enjoyed the chat, the age gap between them left her a little unsettled. She wondered if Peter would have the commitment necessary to undertake an international long-distance relationship, one that would be serious about potentially leading to marriage.
They corresponded and chatted, but only through CatholicMatch, as Claudia was guarded. Then, when Peter went two weeks without touching base, she figured that it was time to move on, and that it was just as well. But as it turned out, he had just been on vacation in Canada and off-line.
When Peter reconnected, he had a renewed focus. They exchanged contact information for the first time. Peter also went to confession, and when he was there, the priest told him that God's love would find him very soon. It gave Peter a renewed optimism about life, and three days later when he logged into CatholicMatch, he saw Claudia's pure smile looking back at him and decided to call her.
"He said he was very interested and willing to commit to a relationship." Claudia said. From that point forward, their commitment has not wavered. The seven-hour time difference between the Washington D.C. area, where Peter lives, and Israel has not been a problem. They touch base in the morning and in the evening, and make frequent use of Skype, along with emails, texts and phone calls.
Meeting face-to-face took time, but Peter and Claudia stayed united in constant prayer. They said the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy together, and they made novenas to St. Joseph. It took 14 months of knowing each other mostly through Skype, but they finally met in Israel.
"I took him to Bethlehem and Nazareth," Claudia said. In Nazareth they stood together in front of a statute of St. Joseph, while Claudia silently said a simple and direct prayer to the foster-father of Christ. "He is the guy I want to be with," Claudia recalled praying. "Is he good for me?"
Claudia got her answer in an equally direct way. Before Peter left Israel, he gave her an engagement ring. They are currently in the process of trying to get her a fiance visa to come to the United States, and will get married when she arrives.
"We believe that miracles happen to those who believe and patiently wait," Claudia said. "Even though it took a lot of time and sacrifices, it turned out just perfect. Peter and I understand our differences. We forgive and forget, and if we hurt the other we apologize. Keep on believing in your prayers and don't give up. God is good all the time."