A letter reader asked me the other day: "Are you married?"
I said, "I've been happily married to my wonderful wife, Bev, now for 45 years."
"That's great," the letter reader said. "After all of that elapsed time, can you remember the name of the person that married you?"
"How could I forget? It was my Uncle Bill. He was a member of the Franciscan Order and he was stationed near the Vatican and he spent time assisting the pope then."
Uncle Bill was just a wonderful human being loved by everyone who knew him. Coming all the way from Rome, Italy, to marry us meant a lot to us. Despite his busy schedule, he looked forward to performing the marriage ceremony. And what a lovely ceremony it was. My wife, Bev, looked absolutely stunning in her wedding gown. It was a gorgeous July day. The church was packed. The wedding reception was awesome, everyone had a great time, then off to our honeymoon to Niagara Falls and living happily every after with our two children.
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A few weeks after, Uncle Bill sent us a lovely wedding present. It was a lovely, beautifully framed, very large picture of the pope at the top giving my wife and me the Apostolic Blessing on the occasion of our wedding at St. Alphonsus Church. We've treasured this for 45 years and the picture today doesn't look over a day old.
Tragically, Uncle Bill died at the young age of 66 after suffering a long time as a result of being hit by a car. Like Jesus, he had to endure tremendous suffering. Like Jesus, he didn't deserve what happened to him. But his star shines bright in heaven. Uncle Bill, you were the best. Miss that ever-present smile and all those nice compliments you always handed out. Thanks for marrying us and thanks for the memories!