The Wedding of Linda L
The Wedding of Linda L'Huillier and Anthony Bolognese
Saturday, April 21, 2007 - Our Lady of Mercy Church, Park Ridge, New Jersey - Three thirty O'clock
Thursday, September 21st, 2006, in the week following a Homecoming service at Grace UMC, Valley Stream, New York, this Email arrived:
Dear Pastor Howard,
I can't even begin to tell you how great it was to see you after all of these years. There have been so many times in my life when I've thought of you, and, just being there at Grace Church, with you there gave me that "home" feeling that you were talking about. I guess I could say, "you know you’re home when your pastor that hasn't seen you in fourteen years jumps up at my distress of pronouncing my last name to pastor Cole and says perfectly, "L'HUILLIER" [pronounced La-Wheel-Yea]. I have so many great childhood memories of you, cherub choir w/Mr. Poch, confirmation, youth group, bell-ringing etc. Thank you for all of the great memories. Also, just to let you know, I've kept Grace church as my church all of these years, I've never switched.
So now I'm 32 years old and about to enter the most exciting time of my life. On November 21, 2003, I met a guy named Anthony. Soon into our relationship I knew that he was the one. His caring way and loving smile could melt ice on the coldest day in December. We dated for two years and one week when he asked me to marry him, on May 26, 2006. Through all of my tears and excitement, I said, "YES". So now in the exciting planning stages, there was one thing missing....You. Marriage is such a special thing and It would mean so much to me if you could marry us. I guess in dreaming about my wedding my whole life, I kind of pictured you there. Our wedding is set for Saturday, April 21, 2007 at 3:30pm at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Washington Township, New Jersey (Bergen County). This is a Catholic church so I hope you wouldn't mind. When asking the priest (whom I haven't met yet) if I could bring my pastor, who has known me since childhood, to join him in marrying us he was equally excited as I with the idea. Also, I do know that you now live in Connecticut and If for any reason you can't make it, I will completely understand. Furthermore, if you can make it, I would love for you and Mrs. Howard to attend my wedding reception, and invite you to stay the evening with us and our guests at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton.
I look forward to hearing from you via e-mail or you can phone me at ----.
Of course, we/I couldn't turn down her invitation. Flattery and nostalgia will get you everywhere with Pastor Howard. We drove to northern Jersey the Saturday morning of the wedding, checked into the Woodcliff Lake Hilton, and waited for our chauffeur to deliver us to Our Lady of Mercy. We arrived an hour early, which temporarily befuddled the presiding priest, the very hospitable and gracious Fr. Robert Ulak. We divvied up ritual responsibilities and I was privileged to offer a message to Anthony and Linda:
It’s been a long, long time, Anthony, since I had the pleasure of your bride’s company for more than a few minutes. And you and I just met a half hour ago. But I have a message for the two of you, a personal one, a true story with a worthy lesson for the two of you as you begin your marriage.
Go with me to Long Island, Nassau County, the fall in the late 1980’s, to Lawson Blvd, on a bike hike with the Grace Church Junior Highs to Long Beach, stopping along the way, as was our habit, at a McDonald’s. I cheated a little bit. I rode a moped. Linda was on a bike. Her bike chain broke. I tried, not too successfully, to keep; my flock together, going back and forth as fast as my moped would go. Linda and her broken bike were stuck at the Seven Eleven near East Rockaway Blvd. We called for help while gulping down Slurpees. Uncle Louis Manzo came. Linda’s bike was loaded into the car and driven home, while I led the straggling bikers back to the church.
There’s a lesson here for your life together. It could be, that lesson, but isn’t: don’t go on a bike ride with Pastor Howard. The better lesson is that you can get through your journey here, despite break-downs and unhappy, unexpected circumstances, with help, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, from your family and friends. Having a priest or pastor to lean on would be a good idea too.
Were I to ask the question of those of you gathered this afternoon, “Will all of you do everything in your power to uphold and sustain Linda and Anthony in their marriage?” your response would be a loud, “We will!” Which, friends and family, let them hear. You can count on us when you are marooned at Seven Eleven or in deep water with the sorrows that touch every life.
But our support, that is our love for you, is surrounded and undergirded by a greater love; for just as that bike hike was under the auspices of people who were committed to serving the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, so is your marriage, blessed now in heaven and made from this day forward on earth, quite a bit more than two people deeply loving each other. More than two people deeply loving each other in the company of those who deeply love them. Your marriage is two people deeply loving each other in the company of those who deeply love them, with all of us held together in the everlasting arms of a God who deeply loves us and wants for the two of you nothing less than an abundance of life.
There is a benediction from another marriage ritual I would offer you: that you may so live together in this life that in the world to come you may have everlasting life. It’s a journey we’re on here, from the eternity from which our lives have issued, to the eternity where we arrive when our days are done. With your love for each other, the love of your family and friends, and the love of God through our Lord Jesus, you will not only make a good time of it here but arrive at the Father’s House at last, with Uncle Louis and others, with souls larger and stronger than you dare imagine.
God bless you, Linda and Anthony, we bless you too.
Our Lady of Mercy Church places the altar in the midst of the congregation, like a theatre in the round. One of the guests at the wedding was especially taken by the stained glass representation of Jesus calming the seas.
The reception followed the wedding service at 6 PM at The Seasons, a mile to the south and a quarter of a mile to the east. The same guest who admired the stained glass has repeatedly celebrated the seafood bar offered during the cocktail hour, especially the grilled sea scallops and the Peking lobster. The six course feast in the main room was sufficient to keep the visiting pastor nourished for two days.
Linda's sister, Lorraine Giaimo, the matron of honor, has an even longer connection with the old pastor, suffering, like Linda, my confirmation lessons and Junior High chaperoning duties at multiple weekend "retreats," but also in these years of her maturity logging on, unbeknownst to CCRWH, almost daily to the website. It is to Lorraine that I have turned to check the information on this posting.
Linda is a nail technician. Anthony works for Boeing on planes at McGuire AFB near Fort Dix. After a honeymoon in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the Bologneses will reside in Jackson, New Jersey.
As for Bob and Barbara Howard, the day following the wedding they flew from Newark Airport to Tallahassee, the land of live oaks and Apalachicola oysters. But that's a tale told elsewhere on this website.