Why some Catholics propose in church

First slide

On the top of a mountain, at a sporting event, in front of friends and family — there are a million different ways to propose, but most hopeful grooms-to-be choose somewhere that's beautiful and has special significance. For some Catholics, that place is church.

Home parish love

Erin Voorheis and her husband, Mark, got engaged in his childhood parish, St. Mark Church in Vienna, where Erin went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adult classes and became involved in the young adult community. A friend she met there tried to set Erin up with her little brother. Erin initially was put off by the five-year age difference, but when they finally went on a date, all that changed.

“I was 29 and I had been on a lot of dates but nothing ever like this,” she said. “We dated for about a year and our social life revolved around the activities of the young adult group.”

At the end of a busy weekend, Mark, who was part of the church music ministry, asked Erin if he could drop his guitar off at church before they went to dinner. When they got to the front of the church, he asked if he could play her a song he recently had learned — “True Companion” by Marc Cohen.

After the song ended, “he got down on one knee and said, ‘Would you be my true companion?’ ” said Erin. “I cried — I was so happy and confused all at once.”

When Mark bought the ring, he got a free limo ride in the deal. So the newly engaged couple took the limo and drove around, telling their friends and family. They were married at St. Mark and their four children were baptized there. They are now parishioners of St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg.

Christmas proposal

Danine Welsh and her husband, Bobby, got engaged in his childhood church: St. Louis Church in Alexandria. The couple met through Youth Apostles and dated less than a year before getting engaged on Bobby’s birthday, Dec. 16. “It’s so cliché but we just knew that we were going to get married,” said Danine.

The couple decided to stop by the church before going out for Bobby’s birthday dinner. The church was locked, but fortunately they were able to follow the choir in as they began to rehearse for Christmas Mass. As they started to sing “O, Holy Night,” Bobby dropped to one knee and proposed. In the darkened church, Danine used the tabernacle light to look at her ring for the first time.

“I love that that was the focus for us,” said Danine, “our faith and our desire to grow closer to Christ together.”

Love letters

Josh Kilmer proposed to his wife, Catherine, in the Mary, Mother of Wisdom Chapel at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. While they were out for ice cream, Josh’s friends decorate the chapel with flowers and candles. When the couple returned, Catherine saw the darkened chapel and heard their friend playing one of her and Josh’s favorite songs on the piano — “We Dance” by Bethel.

“As soon as I heard the first chords, I started to cry,” said Catherine.

Josh led her by the hand through the chapel, giving her letters he had written about their family, friends and shared faith. When they reached the altar, Josh knelt to propose and Catherine dropped to her knees to hug him. Unbeknownst to her, their friends stood watching from the chapel balcony. When she said yes, everyone started to cheer.

The protection of Our Lady

Connor Breed knew he wanted to propose to Kathryn on a Marian feast day. “If anyone's going to be watching out for you, it's going to be her,” he said.

He chose the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Oct. 7, and picked Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Bethesda in honor of the time Kathryn had spent volunteering in Lourdes, France.

That night, the couple walked over to the side chapel of the church and began to pray. The rosary had always been their prayer, said Kathryn, so she felt at peace as they prayed, though she suspected Connor was about to propose. When he did, she was speechless for a moment, and then said yes. 

“Inside of a church made the most sense to me,” said Connor, who attends St. James Church in Falls Church with Kathryn. “I wanted it to be clear that’s what our married life would be founded on and there was no more fitting place than the church.”

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

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