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There is no day you are ‘meant’ to get married

Preparing for a wedding: Catherine Santos and Joe Higgins at St Stephen’s Cathedral on the day of the proposal.

I WAS meant to get married this weekend.


My fiancée and I had picked out June 13 as our wedding date, which seemed providential because we picked it without realising it was the feast day of St Anthony of Padua.

This was symbolically significant to me.

I had schooled at Padua College and had even been to Padua, Italy, on a pilgrimage when I was in high school; the pilgrimage had a significant impact on my faith.

We had even chosen Franciscan Father Harry Chan as our wedding celebrant.

I had joked that with St Anthony as our patron – patron of lovers and lost things – I had no reason to forget the anniversary in the future.

But as coronavirus restrictions set in and churches, shops, dressmakers, tailors, jewellers, florists, and everyone else shut up shop, we decided it would be wise to push the date back.

The bottle shops were still open, so we would never land ourselves in a Cana debacle, God-willing.

I remember we only had two expectations for our wedding – firstly, that it was going to be a nuptial Mass, and secondly, that we had some family there with us to celebrate.

My fiancée had often reassured me that she “had no dream wedding” planned out in her head.

She often told me that her only dream was to plan the wedding with the person God chose for her and come what may.

She is a blessing.

As the government grappled with early coronavirus reports and lockdowns, we quickly cancelled our wedding reception to retrieve our deposit and plotted a route towards a new wedding date – July 18.

I skimmed through the list of saints feasting that day and found no instantly recognisable names; the saints I had read about for that day held none of the significance that St Anthony had.

Of all the trivialities we had endured, that one was a letdown.

It was more of a letdown than the reception venue being cancelled, more than the catering we had prepared, more than even the playlist I had carefully crafted in secret.

On some level, I think we all want our special moments to carry symbolic significance.

For me, St Anthony’s feast day represented that desire.

I was denied it.

I’m glad I was denied it.

It was pride working its way into something holy, new and life-giving; it had no place at our wedding.

The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away, so says Job.

It’s not for us to say what’s meant to happen.

Frankly, it did not matter what date the wedding was nor which saints were feasting.

The day was going to be special because it was going to be the day my fiancée and I would wed in the eyes of God and the Church; we would receive Eucharist together as a married couple for the first time; we would promise ourselves to each other until death parts us.

Everything else was just trifles.

I was not meant to get married this weekend, if for no other reason than to learn a good lesson about surrendering to God.

I am counting my blessings and asking everyone to pray for us as we head towards the altar on July 18.

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