As a prelude to the beginning of this love story, I want to
thank the folks at Catholic Match for developing and implementing a
well thought-out website where Catholics can meet each other, and
develop friendships. This is a real true love story about me and Judy
(member #152820). On her birthday in December 2006, I asked her to
marry me. We are now engaged, and hear wedding bells in the near
I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know that God
does answer prayers, because this love is between a man, a woman and
the third person of the Holy Trinity. Yes, it is the guidance of the
Holy Spirit that played an important part in developing our love
relationship with each other. My wife of forty-four years was called
home to the Lord on November 30, 2005. I was suddenly without a mate I
had known since I was nineteen years old. Going through the motions of
life for eight long months, including many hours of prayer and much
personal soul searching, I discovered Catholic Match.
I logged on to this site, registered and followed the
necessary steps to become a member. The very first profile I read was
that of Judy. I liked what I was reading and thought that this person
and I had a lot in common. How little I knew at that point. I was to
find out in future conversations with her, just how closely matched our
personal interests really were. I sent Judy an emotigram on July 25,
2006. A few days later, she responded to me and our love story had
I discovered that she and I both graduated from high school in
1959, and we were both born the same year. She lost her husband through
death five years prior to the loss of my wife. We both have three grown
children who are very close to each other in age. She has six
grandchildren and I have five. She teaches at the state prisons in her
home state, and I am employed as a detention officer. She directs a
children’s choir at her church, and I was the coordinator of a liturgy
committee at my parish.
Her husband was employed as a railroad engineer and one of his
hobbies was model railroading. And I spent my childhood around railroad
events, as my father was employed by the railroad and my hobby was
model railroading. She was employed by a state welfare agency, and I
volunteered with St. Vincent de Paul working with the poor. St. Vincent
is one of her favorite charities. We were both in agreement that we
will never forget our deceased spouses, because of our happy marriages
to them. We talk freely with each other about them.
There are many very positive personal attributes in Judy’s
person that are outstanding to me. The first of which is her deep
Catholic faith and her love of the Catholic Church. Her dedication to
her peers through the presence of her commitment to the apostolate of
hospital pastoral ministry in her diocese. The love of her ethnic
heritage through the sharing of her cooking skills with her Slovak
people. Her love and understanding of me, as a person in this wonderful
mosaic of life, makes my love for her stronger.
We want to share with other members the foundation of our
story. First, we emailed each other and after many lengthy letters,
Judy gave me her telephone number and we talked on the phone–sometimes
as much as 55 hours a month. We talk with each other on the telephone
every day. Since our relationship began we only missed three days
talking with each other, as this was because she was making a Cursillo.
During my 1800 mile airplane ride to Pittsburgh , November 24th, I
anticipated meeting Judy in person for the first time When I arrived at
the airport and saw her smiling face, I experienced a lasting love for
her . She invited me to her house for the Thanksgiving holiday time.
She met one of my sons and his family and I met her son and his family
and her daughter and family. During this time we grew stronger in our
love relationship as couple, and professed our love to each other.
We attended Mass together on the anniversary of my wife’s
death, as a tribute to both of our deceased spouses. I also visited the
cemetery where her husband is at rest and prayed there. Fully aware
that we are not copies of our former spouses, we have a healthy
reverence for their memory because we know the love, work, faith and
cooperation it takes to have a happy marriage, thanks to them. On the
26th of December I had the privilege of celebrating Christmas with
Judy. We were able enrich our relationship with each other and learn
that life at sixty-five is wonderful when we have a deep love and
understanding for each other. We are now discussing how we intend to
spend the rest of our lives together as a married couple in the
presence of God and the Catholic Church.
On July 25th, 2006 I received an emotigram from a new CM member
named Jim. His profile was sketchy, as he was a new member. So I wasn’t
sure whether we had many interests in common. After three days I
decided to thank him and just wait and see.
He sent a lengthy e-mail after that, and I was very impressed
by his honesty, intelligence, and his ability to discuss in a loving
way, attending a memorial Mass for his spouse of 44 years who’d passed
away. Widowed for five years, I too had a very good marriage but hadn’t
the opportunity or inclination to converse with my dates about events
and memories during that time. He candidly asked me about my married
life and my husband, and in a healthy way we were able to converse
about events in our lives without dwelling on them, but merely
respecting the history from which we’d come.
He also told me about his youthful discovery of St. Martin de
Porres, and that this was his patron saint. Little did I know how this
saint would pop up in our future! Soon after I gave him my home e-mail
address. When these letters became lengthy—to avoid carpal tunnel for
both of us—I gave him my phone number. And my apologies to my three
kids, whom I badgered as teenagers to limit their phone calls to twenty
minutes–we burned up the phone lines between Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Okay, I’ll confess–our lengthiest call lasted eight hours!!!
The only time we couldn’t talk to each other was when I went
to my Cursillo weekend, the first weekend in November ‘06. Jim had made
his thirty years before, and knew about the spectacular experience of
Cursillo. He asked me questions about the location and my sponsor. What
a surprise it was to receive gifts and messages from Jim during my
Then I learned that my second day on Cursillo was the feast
day of St. Martin de Porres! We were amazed and felt it was Jim’s
saintly friend maybe sending us both a message–and maybe, giving us
his blessing on our warm friendship.
We e-mailed music and family photos of our children and
grandchildren, and soon it was as though we knew each other all our
lives. Life became BJ and AJ, Before Jim and After Jim. We both worried
about the long-distance of our growing relationship, but when we
thought of the young military families separated due to deployment
overseas, we figured us two senior citizens (young at heart) could be
no less brave and courageous than they.
I invited him to Thanksgiving dinner with my family. This was
worrisome because if in person we didn’t click, it could be a disaster.
I was a nervous wreck waiting for his plane to land at Pittsburgh
airport the day before Thanksgiving. But I began the CM membership with
a realistic attitude, knowing that I had to have the courage to accept
rejection. And if that happened then this man was not meant for me by
God’s will. I knew also that we could be courteous to each other as a
brother and sister in Christ, and spend a pleasant time together no
When I spied the 6’4” fellow in his Notre Dame jacket in the
airport crowd, I called to him. We saw each other and with one kiss I
was convinced he was right for me. But, what was he thinking? His warm
Irish smile told me all I needed to know, and he assured me he was so
happy to be there with me and that I was all he expected. I felt my
search was over…and it was. He returned to Arizona after the holiday,
but came back after Christmas and proposed on my birthday, December 28.
We’ve a lot of work to do to tidy up our lives. Between us, we
have 67 years of marriage during which we collected “stuff”, 6 beloved
children, 5 equally loved children-in-law, 11 grandchildren two
melodramatic spoiled dogs, a calico cat who is unafraid to fight with
an alligator…isn’t life going to be wonderful with this bustling little
crew!!! But we have each other as friend and soulmate to share the
workload. And we know a bright future awaits us.
For this we have God and Catholic Match staff to thank. How
else could a man from Arizona and a woman from Pennsylvania have met
and fallen in love like this? A tip about long-distance
relationships…have patience, an economical phone plan, patience, a
discount airline, more patience…
One startling event taught me personally how valuable and
wonderful the CM services are–Jim agreed to make a speech to my
Cursillo friends at the late Nov. Ultreya (the regular monthly meeting
of Cursillistas to maintain our sense of Catholic family). He spoke
eloquently about his experience and his desire to spread the good news
of Christ since, and I was so proud of him. But during the speech he
told the group how we’d met on CM and explained a little about the
process. After the meeting many people rushed up to each of us—all of
them to ask eagerly about Catholic Match! They said things such as, “I
have a single cousin…My Dad died years ago and I wish my Mom could meet
someone nice…My brother is a great guy, but his wife ran off…Tell me
about this website so I can join…”
In conclusion, I pray that all our fellow travelers on CM find
the right person with whom to share their lives. Jim and I will pray
for you always. Everyone I’ve met, talented, interesting gentlemen and
ladies alike, were fine and decent people willing to take the risks
necessary to find that unique person God created for them. It takes
great courage to reach out to someone not knowing if they will respond
in kind. One must be open and vulnerable, and no one wants to be hurt,
or worse to hurt anyone else. But just let go and let God do the work;
He knows what’s best for us.
We just set our wedding date for 8/25/07!!!