Late husband was in wife’s heart on her pilgrimage to Germany - Catholic Courier

Late husband was in wife’s heart on her pilgrimage to Germany

Church graveyard where the first Passion Play took place (Photo by Stephanie Morris)

Ed and I enjoyed traveling. We had a bucket list. One of the places was Oberammergau, Germany, to see the Passion Play.

The play started in 1633. Villagers vowed that if spared from a devastating plague, they would repeat the play every 10 years. The first performance was to a small group in the church graveyard. In 2022, two years after the COVID delay, 500,000 people are expected to come between May and October.

Our parish priest offered the 2020 pilgrimage. We could not imagine a better way to go than with our church family. Ed suddenly passed away Aug. 1, 2020. Soon after, I read in our church bulletin about the trip being rescheduled for June 2022.

Even in my deepest grief, I could remember our travel dream. Trips like these strengthened our individual faith and our faith as a couple. If I went with Ed in my heart, could the trip help heal my grief, or could it make it worse? The only way to find out was to go, so I signed up. It gave me something to look forward to in the midst of devastating loss. I prayed I would feel Ed traveling with me in the presence of the priests, my parish family and the new friends I would meet.

On June 9, 2022, two priests and 21 parishioners, including me, flew to Germany. We joined 4,000 people from all over the world to watch the last week of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The play was in German, but we recognized the iconic moments of Jesus’ life and were mesmerized.

The play exceeded all my expectations. Believing in the Resurrection strengthened my faith and filled me with hope that I will be with my beloved Ed again one day.

Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a genetic heart defect on Aug. 1, 2020.

To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit

Tags: Catholic Marriage, Faith Formation
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