The Second of our God Moments comes from our same source as the first, Eileen Hooper Chapoton who is from the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans.
My daughter, Melissa met her husband on St. Anthony’s feast day, June 13, 2008. On December 13, 2008 she became engaged, and on June 13, 2009 she was married. She was living in New Orleans and once engaged decided to move to Charleston, where he was, to be in the same city before they were to be married. We did most of the planning of the wedding before she moved in January of 09. She returned home in late May, 2009.
Her husband Collin tells the story of how they met. They were both at a wedding in Mobile Al. and talking after the rehearsal. They all of sudden realized they were the only ones around, everyone else had left. Melissa was telling Collin how my husband, Mike and I met. Melissa said how love stories like ours just do not happen anymore! Mike and I met, were engaged in 5 weeks and we married in 4 months! It was love at first site and we are still in love after 31 years. It was then that Collin says to her that the same thing is happening right now!
We love that story!
Well, the week before the wedding our music person, a teacher of Melissa’s from high school who was also her piano teacher, informed us that he can no longer do the wedding music because his mother was having emergency surgery. So Melissa has to meet instead with the person that does the music for our former parish in Bay St. Louis. This was a person she did not want to use, because of stories she heard about this person being difficult. Melissa and her father went to meet with him the Saturday before the wedding to plan the music, the wedding programs were already done.
My husband is not Catholic, but he attended church every Sunday when raising the kids, once they were confirmed he no longer attended Mass. I have never stopped praying for his conversion. Well the next day, on Sunday morning around 2:30 am, I woke up and he was in the living room. I sat down with him, he said, "I am glad you are sitting down, I want to go to Mass with you today." He proceeded to tell me about his experience with Melissa and the Music director.
He was moved to tears during that Saturday meeting with the Music director and my daughter. He shared with me how the Music director explained the Wedding Mass music, played the songs on the organ, explained how they fit with the ceremony, and how important the role Mary plays is within the ceremony. (Melissa chose to bring flowers to Mary and have the Ava Maria sung) The music director said that our daughter is a beautiful Catholic woman, who knows her faith, is firm in her beliefs, and obviously knew so much already in preparing for the ceremony with the director of music.
The experience was so moving he wanted to attend Mass. The whole wedding experience, beginning with my husband’s God moment, the Nuptial Mass, the reception, the day-after brunch, sending Melissa and Collin off on their honeymoon, the entire week was so beautiful for our whole family.
God gave us so many blessings. Melissa found her true love, and my precious husband found God! The memories from the week of the wedding will remain with me for a long time. God worked with my husband through the Sacrament of Matrimony, his daughter and the Music Director of Our Lady of the Gulf Parish (ironically, all this was able to happen because the music person selected 6 months prior to the wedding could not be part of it). We felt God’s presence so strongly that whole week. At the reception people would come up and say "Look at how happy Melissa and Collin are! Eileen you are glowing!"
All of my dear friends knew that God had everything to do with it!
Your humble blogger is Mike Hayes, a well-known expert in the world of young adult ministry (20s and 30s) in the Catholic Church. Mike is the author of Googling God (Paulist, 2007) where he explores both the chaotic world that young people live in and their religious reactions to that world. He also explores the age of instant gratification and how churches can respond to the needs of the young adult age by using technology alongside more traditional ministry methods.
Mike founded the award winning BustedHalo.com® in 2001 and continues to contribute to it as the editor of their catechetical section appropriately named Googling God.
Recently, he left BustedHalo® to focus on more direct ministry with young people at St Joseph University Parish as a Campus Minister for the South Campus at the University at Buffalo.
He has only two loves: his adorable wife, Marion and a nine pound chihuahua named Haze, who still find him amusing enough to let them live in their home.