Maria lived in Virginia, and Landon lived in Ohio. A good distance separated them, but nothing that couldn’t be managed.
But this would be romance with an international flair, requiring patience, faith and the willingness to action when the moment arose.
It was the summer of 2007 when they found each other on CatholicMatch. Maria, intrigued by Landon’s study abroad, sent him an emotigram asking about the experience. He replied with a message detailing travels throughout the United Kingdom. The shared interests of international travel and the Catholic faith sparked a friendship.
The friendship might have led to a face-to-face meeting, but because Maria was interested in volunteering overseas, Landon bided his time, knowing the moment wasn’t right. When she signed on a 14-month commitment in Honduras, it seemed likely that this would be a temporary, fulfilling e-friendship, but nothing beyond that.
God had other ideas.
Maria kept in touch with her friend and messaged him in 2008 that she was flying to Italy to visit a friend for two weeks. When he saw her schedule, a stunning coincidence jumped out — he would be in Rome with his parish choir for the same three days she would be there! So their long-awaited face-to-face date came in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Benedict XVI’s Wednesday audience.
After three days together, Landon asked Maria if he could come to visit her in Pennsylvania, where she would spend the summer with her aunt and grandmother. In fact, they spent several weekends together over that summer, as she also came to Ohio and they met each other’s families. At summer’s end, it was time for Maria to resume her commitment in Honduras, and he asked simply if he could wait for her.
Maria gladly said yes to that, and they continued to keep in touch and saw how God was working in their relationship. When it was time to come back to the United States, it was an easy decision for her to move to Ohio. She and Landon were engaged last spring and will be married in a month.