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God’s love unites couple at St. Philomena’s Sanctuary, Monsignor Giovanni Braschi

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God’s love unites couple at St. Philomena’s Sanctuary [Catholic Caucus]
Philomena ^ | November 2007 | Monsignor Giovanni Braschi

Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 8:39:24 AM by NYer

In a world where lost souls exploit their relationships through infidelity, promiscuity, or unholy acts outside of marriage, it brings us much joy to share this beautiful love story. Leo and Jacque are two inspirational young people who bonded through their faith in the Catholic Church and many adventures working in the youth ministry of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in Irvine, California, United States. They were blessed with the grace of a pure friendship, forming the foundation for their relationship and enabling the honest discovery of everything they had ever wanted in marriage, family and ultimately their path to heaven. Their unyielding devotion to St. Philomena further cemented their love.

Leo and Jacque honor St. Philomena as the patroness of purity. As devotees, they wear a cord around their waists of red (for martyrdom) and white (for virginity/purity). In a recent trip to Rome, Leo visited the Roman Catacombs of Priscilla, the location of St. Philomena’s tomb. While there, he gathered some of the dirt and brought it back for Jacque to treasure as a second class relic.

But it wasn’t until an ordinary Wednesday a year ago on August 25 that their lives forever changed. Leo surprised Jacque with an impromptu trip to Rome. After arriving the next afternoon, they took in the sites, dined at St. Peter’s square, and made stops at Trastevere, the Pantheon, and Trevie Fountain. The next morning Leo told Jacque that they would start a new tradition where their first stop on any future trip to Rome would be to the Roman Catacombs of Priscilla where St. Philomena’s remains were discovered.

At the Catacombs they saw the oldest painting of the Blessed Mother and Jacque was enthralled and taken aback from being in the presence of so many martyrs. After their tour ended, Leo grabbed Jacque’s hand before leaving and beckoned her to follow him. “We're not leaving until we find St. Philomena's tomb," he said. After searching down dark caverns and narrow passageways, they stopped to pray. They placed their hands together inside the area where St. Philomena’s Blessed Remains had been removed and Jacque discovered a velvet bag that Leo had lovingly placed there moments before. As she discovered a ring inside, Leo got down on one knee and asked God for the honor of uniting them.

The lovely couple was married on July 7, 2007 (07/07/07) with their honeymoon celebrated in St. Philomena’s Sanctuary in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy. They received special accommodations in the room normally reserved for Bishops and the same holy place where Pauline Jaricot had her famous cure. St. Philomena will maintain a principal place in their spiritual lives. Leo and Jacque began switching their cords in July in honor of their anniversary and devotion to St. Philomena.

We are grateful for the generosity Leo and Jacque have shown our Sanctuary, and know that their devotion will inspire other couples throughout the world. We wish this couple, worthy of emulation and grace, all of the blessings of a life-long marriage and healthy family. We pray for all couples who are finding the love of their life through their love for Christ and contemplating the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony.

Giovanni Braschi
Monsignor Braschi

Leo at the front door of the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena

Leo and Jacque on the front porch of the Sanctuary

Leo and Jacque praying at the Holy Altar of Saint Philomena

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Leo receiving communion

Jacque receiving communion

Praying after communion

Hugging St. Philomena

Engagement in Rome

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The wedding decor was all red and white in honor of Saint Philomena

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Lord, you pour out blessings and lovingkindness on me before I can even ask. And you offer more than I could even conceive of asking. -King David, Psalm 21

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