#TestimonyTuesday Link-Up // How We Met

Today I am joining the Testimony Tuesday community. They share about how much God has done in their lives. What an amazing link-up! Count me in. Today I will be sharing how Steven and I met, because it is such a testimony of the goodness of our loving Father.

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(Credit: Sarah Renee Studios)

Mary’s Take

“In December of 2011 I made the decision to attend a Young Adult Retreat for the Diocese of Cleveland at Saint Basil the Great in Brecksville, Ohio. I was hesitant and wavered if I wanted to attend, but my mom encouraged me and in a last minute decision I headed over. The retreat started at 6:00pm with dinner. A handsome man asked if he could sit at my table. The rest of the evening, I could not stop thinking of him. During adoration I even prayed that he would sit next to me… and then he did! When he did, my heart melted (talk about butterflies!) I did not say more than two words to him, but I knew he was truly someone special.

On December 31, the retreat ended and I went home to search for him on Facebook (naturally). I saw that we had over 30 mutual friends and realized we were also members of the Teens Encounter Christ community. That evening I went to a New Years Eve benefit concert at Communion of Saints in Coventry. A few of those mutual friends were there, so of course I asked them about him. Their responses were, “He is the nicest boy” or “He is such a great guy!”

I friend requested him immediately. After a few small conversations, we began our adventure with a date at Tommy’s in Coventry. We followed with dates to Little Italy, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the Cleveland Aquarium. Steven swept me off my feet and our fairy-tale began!”

Steven’s Turn

“I had a friend from college who persuaded me to go on a retreat the day before it started. I was very hesitant about going, because I only knew one person that would be there. When I arrived it was dinner time and I asked to sit at the table Mary was at. We did not talk much then, but later in the night I was kneeling next to her during Adoration and noticed she had a ring on her finger. I later found out this was a Claddagh, which she wore on her ring hand with the heart facing out since she was single. Being a guy I had no idea of what it meant. I just thought she was taken.

After the retreat she sent me a really sweet message over Facebook and wished me a Happy New Year and asked if I enjoyed the retreat. For some reason I knew there was something special and I could not wait to respond. We sent some messages back and forth and I tried to see if she was free to go to a Theology on Tap, but she had class. Then we decided to go to dinner at Tommy’s where I spilled water on myself… twice. She did not seem to mind and said yes to a second date and every date since.”


You guys, every date since. The story of how Steven and I met has God’s fingerprints all over it. We met at a Catholic retreat… Goodness, our Father is SO good. Never once does He let us walk alone. He is such a faithful Lord.

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Holly Barrett

#gratefulheart Link-Up // Grateful Heart Monday

Good morning, friends! I am starting this morning by linking up with Emily from Ember Grey to begin my week with a grateful heart.


Thank God for ministry spouses. Can I get an amen? I could shout to Heaven how thankful I am for Steven’s support of the Life Teen program I lead.

Steven prays just as much, if not more, for the teens who are in my youth ministry program. He empathizes when a teen texts or calls with a serious crisis. He has listened to me practice my XLT, retreat, and Life Night talks over and over again. He has been my automatic Core Member since the moment I said yes to this job. He has endured his fair share of school musicals, Eagle Scout projects, and football games.

Steven is my holy husband, my better half, my best friend, my prayer warrior, my co-missionary, and a true living-saint. When I answered the call to ministry, I answered the call for the both of us. Together we made the commitment to God and to the teens. I could never do this work without my husband supporting, affirming, and encouraging me every step of the way. Without him, I would not last one day in youth ministry.

So, cheers to Steven! He is an amazing youth ministry husband who smiles from the pew while I make announcements at Mass each week and prays over me when I say, “I can’t do this” two minutes before a talk on retreat. Most of all, Steven has helped lead dozens of teens closer to Christ. Through our dating, our engagement, and now our marriage we have been a witness to every single teen we have encountered.

It is my deep desire that the Holy Family can strengthen our marriage as we continue to surrender to God’s will for our lives.

Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
JP II, pray for us.

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Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

#78: Attend 3 Weddings

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“Marriage is a feast – a Christian feast, not a worldly feast…some are more preoccupied with the exterior signs, with the banquet, the photographs, the clothes and the flowers…These are very important things in a feast, but only if they are able to show the true motive of your joy: the blessing of the Lord on your love.”

Pope Francis, St. Peter’s Square, 14 February 2014

I will be sharing with you updates on my “101 in 1001” list. First up is #78: Attend 3 Weddings

Steven and I were blessed this year to witness three couples lay down their lives for each other in holy marriage. We believe marriage is a sacrament which has the power to sanctify, to make us holy, and to draw us into deeper relationship with Christ. It has been beautiful for us to look at these three couples as true witnesses of sacramental love. We have been inspired by their devotion to the Lord, their unwavering love of the Catholic faith, and their ability to stay focused on the sacrament during each step of their engagement. We are joyful to have such holy friends!

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Rob and Karisa
May 23, 2015

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Jillian and Jason
August 14, 2015

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Katie and Patrick
October 17, 2015
Love, Mary

PS. We cannot wait to celebrate our 50th anniversary year with these three amazing couples! 2015 was a great year to get married 😉

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