Saturday, June 12, 2010

Evan and Mary's Wedding Day

The younger of my two sons got married today. Evan and his bride Mary will be living downstate as he prepares to enter grad school continuing his study of organ performance. I always thought Evan would be the last of my three children to marry, but he turned out to be the first. The time leading up to a family wedding is so hectic that one has little time to reflect on the life we brought into the world nearly 23 years ago.

We joke that Evan was never a little baby. He weighed over ten pounds at birth. Soft-spoken and always big for his age, he had a teddy bear-like persona during his formative years. When he was about two years old, I remember my Uncle Cyril saying, “I sure hope you are going to let that boy play football!” I would have gladly let him play sports, but that was never Evan’s thing. We had a piano in our basement family room and Evan began plunking out tunes when he was three or four. Now, I am not talking ‘Mary had a little lamb.’ Evan was experimenting with self-taught cords and harmonies. My wife found a piano teacher willing to give him lessons at the age of five.

My wife is an organist at our parish, and Evan was always fascinated by the pipe organ. On Memorial Day in 1997, he played his first Mass at our parish at the age of nine. I was a nervous wreck that day, but he did just fine. God blessed him with a talent that he developed and continues to develop to this day. Last month, he graduated cum laude from Valparaiso University with a degree in organ performance.

Throughout high school, he played the organ at weekend Masses and other special liturgies at our parish. Those were all volunteer efforts, but he made a few dollars playing at funerals and weddings. During his own wedding rehearsal, our pastor remarked at the detail in which Evan and Mary had planned the liturgy. The fact is, despite his young age, he had many years of experience working with couples preparing wedding music.

When he was a sophomore in high school, a small non-Catholic congregation in a nearby town offered Evan a paying job on Sundays. His relationship with them continued for seven years until his graduation a few weeks ago. Before his departure, the congregation invited our entire family to a carry-in dinner in Evan and Mary’s honor. She often accompanied Evan to their Sunday service. The women of their church got together and made them a beautiful quilt as a going-away present. I will ever forget the kindness of their Christian community.

The wedding today was beautiful despite a few last minute hitches. Our Pastor, Father Terry, had a close family friend pass away earlier this week. Naturally the funeral ended up being scheduled the same day as the wedding. He planned to concelebrate the funeral Mass at a location an hour away and still make it back in time for the wedding, but instead, this gave us an opportunity to ask my cousin, Father Bob, a retired diocesan priest if he could perform the ceremony. He agreed to do it, and it was even nicer having a family member preside. Father Bob gave a lovely homily explaining the covenant between God and Man and how it relates to the Sacrament of Matrimony.

So now the day has ended. My big teddy-bear son is married and entering a new chapter in his life. I love him and his wife dearly and pray they grow in faith together for many years to come. They gave us a beautiful note Evan had written thanking us for all we had done for him over the years. Mary told us not to open it until we got home because she did not want to see any weepy eyes. I am sure glad we heeded her words! I only hope I did enough. May God Bless them richly.

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