Editor's Note: In the November edition of 4marks Magazine, the success story Miracles Do Happen was posted by Ray-166987 and Jackie-175014. Below is the text of the speech Ray gave at their wedding reception.
I wondered how the best way I could describe what happened in my life and remembered my wedding speech! I have four children, as does my new wife.
Giving a speech doesn’t come naturally to me. When Marie-Therese and Clare were born my second thought was, “Oh Dear I’m going to have to give a speech when they gets married!” My first thought of course was…“aren’t they cute!” I’m sure Michael and Neil will agree. Anyway, here I am giving the speech as the Husband not as the Father! This will of course contain some history lessons…and amazingly references to Hollywood films. Some of my thoughts only a Catholic may understand so I apologise in advance.
Firstly, why is this called the Wedding Breakfast? Well, back in old Catholic times the couple taking communion at the Nuptial Mass will have fasted overnight prior to the service…so this was their breakfast. Indeed, it would have been the first meal of the day for all the communicants. In the past few years I have journeyed through a long tunnel, at the end of which I realised that I no longer feared death–perhaps the last gift Bernadette gave me, but with that I learnt that neither did I fear life. A gift from God. So another journey started.
After some shared heartache, it was only at the suggestion of an American lady that Jackie eventually decided to go on the Catholic Internet site. Almost straight away she browsed my profile (not realising that I would know!) The age search she had put in was up to 50 years old, so I only just qualified! I then contacted her to encourage her to place her photo on the site–when I saw her face I dissuaded her from putting anymore on…In case of competition! I then quickly looked up Chichester on the Map…having no idea where it was!
The next few weeks saw a great deal of Email traffic as we got to know each other. At Lourdes in late July I continued to Email–imagine me, a dyslexic typing with one finger on a French keyboard. My messages tended to be shorter out of necessity. My fellow Pilgrims were impressed as to how long I spent on the Internet continually searching for a Hotel with a free keyboard! Love is based on Trust, so how was I to build up Trust so that Love could flower.
By the time it came to meet Jackie in August, we had exchanged Emails amounting to a novel in both directions and a few references had flown across the Internet. One of Bernadette’s closest friends wrote to Jackie; Susie, Jackie’s sister wrote to me, Canon Stephen wrote to Fr.Kieron and Fr.Kieron wrote to me. Finally I even quoted my Chief Executive and the Dean of the College (E-mail “cut & paste). Thankfully the interview process was quicker! Back in 1974 I knocked on a door to a flat in Kirkby Liverpool and saw a young woman (with a towel around her head) and knew she was going to be Mrs. McGlone. Similarly, as I met Jackie on the railway platform in Chichester, I knew she was going to be my wife as I picked her up in my arms.
What I am about to say is most likely counter to the current culture, but I count myself Blessed to have had only two girlfriends, two fiancées and now two wives in my life. There have been so many coincidences that I feel that the path I trod was pre-ordained. Jackie first contacted me on Bernadette’s birthday. When I bought Jacqueline’s engagement ring, neither of us realised that it was the same one as Rita her mother had bequeathed to Anna. A sapphire with a diamond on each side, which had been in the family for generations. When Jackie first met me she was amazed, as her mother Rita on her deathbed had promised to send her a man once she got to heaven, “a Ray of sunshine”. One of the three promises I had to give Bernadette on her death bed was to re-marry–she predicted some woman would sweep me off my feet Bernadette died on the day of Rita’s funeral service and many believe they had little chat about us once they met. Both Rita and Bernadette will be happy for us today.
My search for love has involved almost military planning–in the past year we have travelled 14,000 miles (The circumference of the Earth is 24,900 miles!) and as I travelled by rail, my carbon footprint is quite respectable! Dating over a distance of 300 miles has been hard but love conquers all and with the help of webcam the distance seemed not too far. Being a romantic, I promised Jackie that a flower would bloom in her house until we married–and I always keep my promises. An orchid has flowered in her house since we were engaged. We are thinking of opening an Orchid shop! Youthful looks–I had difficulty getting a Consultant post as I looked too young back in 1989 and at University Jackie was mistaken as a school girl (to go half price on the bus). In the long run perhaps it has been to our advantage!
Our shared Faith is a strength that is beyond value. At Christmas we had promised not to give each other anymore presents apart from a photo. However on the day we both had decided to bend that promise–and without any planning beforehand we exchanged CAFOD gifts. I received an emergency home kit and Jackie received an education for a midwife. We looked at each other and smiled. History again…
The two families getting to know each other has happened despite the distance involved–and of course they do share some history. Jackie’s maiden name is Johnson, meaning son of John, and McGlone means son of a follower of John (in Gaelic). So Jacqueline will obviously be the senior partner here! Continuing the history lesson, many of you will remember my pledge last year to support twelve doctors in training in Zambia following the example of King Edward 1 when he raised twelve stone crosses for his beloved Queen Eleanor. It is the 700th anniversary of his death tomorrow. Well Edward also remarried. A quote follows : “ The…couple were blissfully happy. It is said that many who fell under the king's wrath were saved from too stern a punishment by the queen's influence over her husband, and the statement, Pardoned solely on the intercession of our dearest consort, queen Marguerite of England, appears.” So the staff in the A&E department will be pleased! (that’s a joke!).
My happiness today is complete and I again pledge to love this woman with all my heart. What is the secret of a good marriage. I searched many learned books on this, but eventually turned to Hollywood. I will quote Spiderman 3 when his aunt gives him the sound advice that he will know when he is ready for marriage when he is prepared to put his wife before himself. And that needs to be both ways for the marriage to blossom. I could quote another film “In Good Company” as well…when a man asks his work colleague the secret of a good marriage. But I can’t cause it’s been censored! But, again sound advice about fidelity.
Thank you to all the many people who have helped in bringing Jackie and I together and helping in the preparation of this wedding. Lastly the most precious gift one human can give another is the gift of their time…this gift I give to Jackie as long as we are together on this Earth. The last twist of fate has been that my son and daughter-in-law Philip and Rhianydd have been posted by MTAS to St.Richard’s Hospital, Chichester. So both parishes will be welcoming newcomers to the area! So I think it is appropriate to end in a Prayer. The one written by St.Richard of Chichester and the one said at each Mass in the Cathedral’s Spiritual Renewal back in 2004-05. Then I did not know where Chichester was…I do now!
The Prayer of St.Richard said by Ray and Jackie–Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits which Thou hast given me, For all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for me, O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, May I know Thee more clearly, Love Thee more dearly, And follow Thee more nearly, Amen.
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