Leonor: As we planned our wedding, we wanted a Spanish and English bilingual ceremony. We asked Father Larry Tracy. He baptized Ed, and while growing up, Ed often found him talking with his parents over coffee in their kitchen.
Ed: Because of my experience with priests like Father Tracy, I saw some priests as friends or even family. After we were married, Leonor and I met other lovable priests at our parish and through Worldwide Marriage Encounter and Family Camp.
Leonor: Our sons grew up seeing priests washing dishes in our kitchen, cooking gourmet meals, playing baseball, belly laughing watching funny movies, camping under the stars, hiking to waterfalls, canonball jumping into pools, mowing the lawn, and one was even a volunteer firefighter. Priests hugged us and cried with us. They celebrated with us. They shared their lives with us.
Ed: Priests taught us that the sacrament of marriage and holy orders are both signs of Christ’s love in the world alive today. When people experience a husband and wife’s love for each other or the love a priest has for his people, they experience a taste of the love Christ has for them. This challenges us, especially during those times when we are less than kind to each other.
Leonor: Our friends Father Larry Tracy, Father Jack Murray, Father Doug Smith from Australia, Father Michael Hogan and Father Chuck Gallagher have gone ahead of us to heaven. Inspired by them and the beloved priests that are still here with us, we try to live out our marriage vows to the best of our ability. We feel blessed when our priests help us understand Christ’s command to “love one another as I have loved you” by the way they love us.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera are members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter, visit www.wwme.org. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.