“The culture is what it is,” Howard told CatholicMatch when he offered his reason for joining the online singles community. After being widowed seven years ago, the 44-year-old supervisor of a Forest Preserve District in Illinois, stepped back into the dating scene and realized that even sticking to people within his parish was no guarantee of finding someone who shared his faith and values.
After a series of dates with woman who openly talked about their choices to live contrary to Catholic teaching, Howard was looking for another option, and the ad for CatholicMatch in the parish bulletin gave him an idea where to start.
Angela, a 36-year-old teacher from Michigan, was finding much the same problem in the dating world and the same reasons spurred her to take the suggestion of a friend and join CatholicMatch. She found some early success on the sites. Even though no long-term match was made, she was able to meet some men whom she considered to be of good character. “I thought it was a great way to meet people,” she said. And eventually one of the men she met was Howard.
“I saw her picture and it was like God spoke to me,” Howard said in recalling the search that eventually led him to Angela. “I just knew she was special, she shared the same values and I thought she was beautiful.” He reached out to her and by the end of their first night exchanging messages, they were ready to get on the phone.
Both Howard and Angela were convinced that their relationship had to move first to the phone and then to the real world as quickly as possible. Neither had any desire for a drawn-out electronic “relationship.” Over Thanksgiving weekend of last year, Angela was visiting her family in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Howard was prepared to drive up there to meet her in person for the first time, though she graciously offered to meet him halfway in Green Bay. They spent seven hours together, had lunch and toured Lambeau Field, home of the NFL Packers
Their second date lasted just as long, as with four hours distance between them, Howard and Angela were determined to maximize every opportunity they had to spend time together. And though neither could put a precise finger as to how, when or why, they were convinced they had found the person they wanted to spend the rest of their life with.
One weekend, Howard was supposed to be at Angela’s on a Saturday. He decided to surprise her, left early and got in on a Friday night. He called her from her driveway with the surprise news that he was right outside. After they went inside and talked a bit, he got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes, and they were married this past August 20.
Howard and Angela’s first date at Lambeau Field coincided with the Packers’ push to a Super Bowl title. Even better things were ahead for the Packers, who are undefeated this season. But they’re no match for Howard and Angela, whose team is doing even better and going to be growing—a little over three weeks ago, they found out she is expecting their first child. Shared faith and unwillingness to compromise on core values brought them to each other and they will now spend the rest of their lives reaping the benefits.