On the final day of 2011, Kelly was at her sister’s wedding. The 25-year-old from Alaska was hoping for someone special herself. She found him on CatholicMatch, but it took some patient and well-timed persistence to bring it about.
“I saw quickly there were no prospects in my area,” the graduate student studying to be a school counselor recalled. “But I still felt hopeful and encouraged that other Catholics were out there seeking the same thing I was.”
Kelly was hoping to find someone relatively close to her, and even broadened her search parameters. But eventually she concluded that she’d have to try “the lower 48” if she was going to make a connection. In mid-January, just a couple weeks after the wedding that motivated her to join, she spotted Raul’s profile and she hoped he’d at least read her profile in return.
Relying on a potential contact to read a profile based strictly on you showing up in their encounters area is a risky gambit, but it paid off for Kelly. The 28-year-old from Colorado read her profile in return and even beamed a “smile” emotigram at her.
“I quickly wrote a message trying to be funny, but that I know came out sounding pretty stupid,” she recalled. After a week she hadn’t heard back, but undeterred she decided to try again. “I decided to message him again about his time spent in Honduras and if he had done any diving there; something in which I have hoped to do someday,” Kelly told CatholicMatch.
Kelly was wrestling with the issue everyone on CatholicMatch has at some point or another—how much should you try and pursue someone when there’s no contact in return. She did it the right way, with a gentle persistence and when she was finally ready to write off Raul and move on to other prospects, he wrote back.
Things took off in a hurry once they were in regular contact. Kelly’s a social person and Raul has had his share of adventures-not only has he done service work in Honduras, but he’s been to Costa Rica, Guatemala, majored in theology, speaks one foreign language and is learning two more. The couple had plenty to talk about and share as they developed their relationship.
Skype was an invaluable communication tool for Raul & Kelly in those heady weeks of getting to know each other. “(It’s) a great way of giving you a general idea of getting to know someone,” Kelly said. By the time they had their first date, exactly three months after she first saw his profile on CatholicMatch, they felt like they knew each other.
The process of setting up an initial face-to-face meeting was not easy. With Kelly in graduate school, money was at a premium and in Raul’s case, simply getting to Alaska was not easy. He was still ready to come at the end of May, but neither wanted to wait that long. And as it turned out, he had a friend getting married in Idaho in mid-April. Raul had plenty of frequent flier miles under his belt and cashed some of those in to help Kelly meet him there.
“We were both really hopeful about our first meeting,” Kelly said, thinking back to her flight into Boise. They were both nervous when she got off the plane, but even though hours drive was ahead of them, they both settled in and the conversation flowed easily.
“That first day we hugged, held hands and when Raul asked to kiss me at the end of our first day spent together I said yes,” Kelly said. She was convinced “there was something more beautiful in store for our friendship.”
Raul & Kelly spent four more days together and then they drove to Seattle, where he was set to begin work the Archdiocese. With him now in the Pacific Northwest they knew they could see each other soon when they finally parted company.
He made the drive into Alaska in May and they were able to spend a month together prior to his leaving on a high school service trip to Peru. Kelly’s father is a deacon in the Church and they were able to pray with him, something that meant a great deal to her as the oldest of three daughters. And he was able to meet all her friends and get a sense of the world she comes from.
Even with him currently abroad, the excitement for their relationship hasn’t lost its luster. They have discussed fall plans and the life changes that lie ahead. She’ll be finishing grad school next year and because of the importance of the relationship, Raul chose to give up some opportunities in Colorado in order to move to Alaska and pursue their relationship. “I am looking forward to living in the same area so we can properly date,” Kelly said.
There’s a lot to still be settled out as Raul and Kelly seek to understand what their next steps should be together. “What we do know is that God is definitely at work in this,” she told CatholicMatch. And Kelly is glad she gave online dating a try. “After I saw my sister getting married I started to have doubts if there was anyone for me…I was having no luck finding someone I really enjoyed who shared my faith.”
Now she has someone who shares not just her faith, but her love for adventure and travel. Only God knows where their journey will lead, but there’s plenty of excitement as they walk it together.