Pair made a point to friend couples with good marriages - Catholic Courier
People gather around tables laden with food.

The Rivera family enjoys a Thanksgiving dinner with their youngest son’s godparents and their family. (Photo by Leonor Rivera)

Pair made a point to friend couples with good marriages

Years ago, our younger son’s godparents invited the four of us to celebrate Thanksgiving with their family. We met them through Worldwide Marriage Encounter. They were fun, caring, loving and easy to be around. They would listen without judging. They would not try to fix us. We loved them very much, and they loved us just the way we were.

Every year at Thanksgiving, they had an eating contest. Although it sounds like the winner would be the one who ate the most, the actual winner was the one who convinced everyone else that they ate the most. The big talkers won, not necessarily the big eaters.

They provided ballots for us to officially vote for the person that appeared to eat the most turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. The overall winner was crowned with a turkey hat.

While we were eating, you would hear people say things like, “Pass me the mashed potatoes for the third time. I can’t stop eating them,” or, “I need a straw so I can drink the gravy.” Whoever got the turkey leg would make a show of holding it up and chomping on it with gusto.

Sean Rivera wearing the turkey award winner hat. (Photo by Ed Rivera)
Turkey leg chomp. (Photo by Ed Rivera)

When their kids got married, they started traveling to be with them and their families. The tradition for us ended with them, but the memories of the fun live on.

Ed and I surrounded ourselves with couples like this that had great marriages and families. We believed that being around them helped us have a wonderful marriage and family. I am so thankful to have many of these couples and special single friends by my side supporting and loving me as I continue on my journey of life with Ed in my heart.


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.

The 2023 Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends are April 14-16, Sept. 15-17 and Nov. 10-12. All weekends take place at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.

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

Tags: Catholic Marriage
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