Ed: It rained all week, but on Saturday June 21, the first day of summer, the sun shined on our wedding day. My family arrived a week before to prepare the back yard of our new house for a simple celebration. Leonor’s family arrived the day before with party supplies and champagne. We were all relieved that our outdoor reception wouldn’t be rained on.
Leo: It was important for us to be married in our new church. Our dear friend Father Larry Tracy celebrated Mass in English and Spanish and witnessed our exchange of vows. We both lit one large candle and received holy Communion together. Two became one. I felt overjoyed!
Ed: After the ceremony, our guests made their way to our house while we took a detour. We went to the hospital. There was a very special guest there, my grandmother. She had Guillain-Barre syndrome and had been paralyzed from the neck down for eight years and unable to speak. She was amazingly generous and loving and was my role model. She’s the one who first taught me that we should try to live our life like Jesus would; she lived more like Jesus than anyone else I had known. I felt proud bringing my new bride to her.
Leo: Ed and I walked through the hospital wearing our wedding clothes holding balloons. Hospital staff and visitors smiled and cheered. When we walked into her room her eyes opened wide with surprise and joy! Every time we visited, her powerful faith reminded me of my mom’s faith and filled me with hope. She gave us the best wedding gift. She taught us that with deep faith in God joy is always within reach, despite your circumstances. Gracias abuelita (grandma). We will always remember you.
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. The next Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend is Nov. 20-22 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.