Jared was searching. He was a soldier in the U.S. Army, stationed in Italy, and he felt like his faith was slipping. It was not something that a man who’d spent years of discernment in the seminary was going to take lightly and when the local military parish took a trip to Padova to see the tomb of St. Anthony, the 29-year-old knew an opportunity when he saw it.
“St. Anthony is my confirmation saint,” he told CatholicMatch. “It (the trip) was just what I needed to get my faith back in order and do some heavy praying.” One of the things Jared prayed for was that the long-lost woman who was meant for him, be brought in his direction.
When he returned the barracks that night, he logged into his CatholicMatch account and saw he’d been contacted. Alyssa, the same age as he and living in West Virginia, sent him an emotigram and thanked him for his service to their country.
The subsequent exchange of messages established enough common ground that when Jared returned to his home in Corpus Christi for Thanksgiving, Alyssa got on the plane and flew to Texas to see him.
It turns out that Jared wasn’t the only one with a devotion to St. Anthony. On this trip to meet him and his family, Alyssa revealed that on the day he’d been at the tomb in Italy, she was praying to the very same saint, that the man God had set aside for her be revealed.
“We realized that St. Anthony was playing matchmaker,” Jared said. That sounds fun and light to say, but they both recognized it takes serious prayer to truly understand the will of God.
After some time, Jared’s was assigned to Afghanistan again. “When I was deployed, we constantly wrote letters, emailed and skyped,” Jared said. On rare occasions they were able to talk on the phone. “She stuck with me through thick and thin and that means a lot to a soldier.”
Alyssa’s loyalty to Jared from afar won his heart and he would eventually propose to her, and she said yes. In July of 2010 they were married. As they approach their third Christmas together, they have an eight-month old baby boy and are expecting a little girl in March.
Jared had the good fortune to meet a lot of good people on CatholicMatch—indeed, one of the first women he met, is still a friend and keeps in touch with both he and Alyssa to this day. But there was one that was set aside for him, and he for her. And it was St. Anthony pulling the strings to bring them together.