A Simple Smile Sent James & Vina Across The Ocean


James & Vina crossed the Pacific to be with each other.

Vina, a 44-year-old designer from the Philippines, was already making vacations to the United States every two years. After joining CatholicMatch in 2009 she got another reason to come to the States.

“It all started when I sent a smile to James,” she recalled. It wasn’t the only emotigram she sent out, but this was one was different right away—James wrote back.

The message exchanges between Vina and James, also 44-years-old and from new New Jersey, laid the foundation of friendship. With that established, a surprising “coincidence” happened. Vina told James she was coming to the U.S. to visit her sister over Christmas. As it turned out, James lived only thirty minutes away.

During Vina’s time on the East Coast, she and James went on several dates, and he took her on little tour of the Catholic parishes he frequents. A particularly beautiful experience was being in the monastery and hearing the nuns sing during Mass. When Vina returned to the Philippines, their relationship was still platonic, but they knew they wanted to keep messaging and chatting.

James made the first step to upgrading the relationship. An e-card he sent for Easter was signed “with love.” Vina took it as the kind of greeting one might give a close friend, but in August, shortly before her birthday, James told her that he loved her and that he’d felt since a visit they’d taken to an Adoration Chapel. He struck the right chord with Vina—“I told him I have the same feeling for him but thought he only wanted to be friends.”

Their daily chats became longer and James made plans to come to the Philippines in December 2010. He met Vina’s family, and saw the places where she grew up. On December 27, he proposed marriage and she accepted. They were married on August 13. That’s James birthday, and now has another reason to be special.

“We had a traditional Catholic wedding,” Vina told CatholicMatch. “It was typhoon season so we prayed for good weather that day.” After some rain early on, it settled in to be a beautiful day.

James and Vina have decided to build their lives together in the Philippines, given her design business is established in Asia. Both of them waited a long time to find the right person. Vina reminds us that “good things come to those who wait…and pray.”



  1. Michelle-199155 November 12, 2011 Reply

    Very inspiring… Congratulations, Vina and James!

  2. Lulu-433175 November 11, 2011 Reply

    Beautiful story about Vina and James! You are right …. “good things come to those who wait… and pray!

  3. Melissa-155765 November 10, 2011 Reply

    Congrats and best wishes to both of you..Indeed, no distance is ever too far if God willed two people to be together. May you have a long and happy marriage! God bless… 🙂

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