“Joyce knew I existed however because her sister wrote and told her all the news,” Vince said.
“She wanted to meet me … she came to Roma and got her married brother to bring her to a dance.
“I immediately fell in love.”
Crossing the floor for a dance, 10 days later Vince proposed, saying Joyce “had a Marian (Mary-like) identity”.
“She was more than I had ever asked God for,” he said, with an endearing charm.
“Joyce had a similar background to my mother, growing up on a farm.”
The couple joke that “no change of surname” was required after their wedding in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Toowoomba, on April 29, 1961.
Interestingly, it was 50 years exactly (including the time of day) before the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton – a detail highlighted by Brisbane’s press last year.
But it was the 50th wedding anniversary for the Nudgee couple, not the royal wedding, that had them celebrating among eight children and their extended family members.
Vince attributes his happiness to the “good example” of his parents.
“I always believed I had an advantage as my parents said the daily Rosary and just about went to everything that was on in the church,” he said.
“I still have great memories of Fr Patrick Peyton’s Rosary Crusade out west.
“(And) listening to Bishop Fulton Sheen’s Life is Worth Living program on a Sunday night on a crackly old radio tuned to a Brisbane station was a favourite of mine.”
The couple raised their children in the faith but said their “big family is no different to anyone else”.
“We all have our ups and downs and you stick by your children through thick and thin,” Vince said.
“I think it’s good advice to listen to the Irish bishops who said, ‘Allow your children room to make mistakes’.
“God often reveals the truth out of the mouths of babes. “I know there were times when although I knew I was called to help them to grow up, they helped me to grow up.
“Family crosses are not always made of wood.”
Vince’s joy is also credited to “the significant women” in his life.
“I’ve had three good women behind me and full credit must be given to them,” he said.
“Firstly, Mary, the woman given to the whole world at the foot of the Cross when Christ said, ‘This is your Mother’ (John 19:27).
“She taught me so much by my mentally sitting ‘on her lap’ where Jesus sat.
“Secondly, my biological mother for the tolerance and perseverance she showed to me as a child.
“I was born tongue tied but because of my mother’s persistent prayers I was cured.
“(And) finally, the mother of my eight children – my good wife whose patience, understanding and Marian identity accepted me for what I am and not for what she wanted me to be.
“I have a lot to be thankful for.”
With a thankful heart Vince began Blessed Trinity Apologetics in Banyo Nundah parish in March 2001.
He described their weekly meetings as “a layman’s attempt to get lay people involved in the only mission that Jesus came for – the salvation of souls”.
“My Catholic dictionary states that Ap-ologetics is about the science of defending the Catholic faith,” Vince said. “The Church exists so that the secular world gets the opportunity to become churched.
“Truth is all that matters, all the rest has been invented.
“Truth is not something, it is somebody and His name is Jesus Christ.”
Vince’s blood pressure seems to rise just as much as his passion for Apologetics but he said “it’s not about search and destroy but search and rescue”.
Soon after, Vince offers what he called “a lighter side”.
“After talking to an American priest about apologetics he asked me if I was a professor,” he said.
“I quickly replied that I ‘was higher than that’.
“I said, ‘I got my calling from God at baptism and have an indelible mark on my soul to prove it’. The title of professor is a manmade title.”
Comforted to be doing something about what he called “the crisis of faith in the Church”, Vince said members of Blessed Trinity Apologetics would continue to “know, love and serve God through prayer, study and action”.
“Although the group is only 11 years old, the study we undertake covers more than 2000 years,” he said.
“We focus on Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium, which is the teaching body of the Church.
“St Jerome tells us, ‘To be ignorant of the scriptures is to be ignorant of Christ’ and that is why reading the Bible daily is necessary.
“St Paul tells us to, ‘Hold fast to the tradition you received from us by Word or by Letter’.
“Christ Himself set up only one Church, which is ours.” With so much gratitude in his heart and an equal share of motivation to impart scripture and the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, Vince almost doesn’t have time to sleep.
“I must warn you that your happiness will keep you awake,” he said.
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