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Archive for the ‘Introduction’ Category

I met my future wife because of The Catholic Review and I have the article to prove it. I was asked to cover an evangelization conference at Ellicott City’s Church of the Resurrection in 2008, four months after I signed on as a reporter for the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s newspaper of record.

I had spent seven years as a sports reporter, so I was still getting adjusted to my new task of covering religion.

I’ll be honest, the evangelization conference wasn’t my favorite thing to be covering at the time. I was still dreaming of covering the NFL and the Ravens, my old beat. If there was a guy driving the bitter bus, it was me.

I had just got done talking with the day’s organizer when I said, “I need to talk to an attendee. Got anyone you’d recommend?”

Just then, the organizer looked as a passer-by (who also happened to be a friend of her’s) and said, “How about Cassandra?”

Now if that’s not a Wing Woman, I don’t know what is.

And, so, I talked with Cassandra Anderson, youth minister of St. John the Evangelist parish in Severna Park for five minutes. She said she wasn’t great at being interviewed and I encouraged her because, well, I wasn’t to leave without a quote. I asked her several questions that all sounded the same and produced answers that were equally repetitive. It was unremarkable, but cordial, and we went on our ways relieved the interview was done.

I spent my whole life looking for my wife. And I found her. I just didn’t know it that day.

A couple of months later, we went and saw a December midnight screening of Back to the Future at the Charles Theater in Baltimore City. It wasn’t supposed to be the pseudo-date it turned out to be because a friend bailed on me at the last minute. Again, it was fun, but we went our separate ways.

A little more than a year later, Casey and I started dating. And three months from now she’ll be my wife.

That assignment for The Catholic Review three years ago proved to be the best one I’ve ever received.

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As a reporter, I ask big questions all the time, but on the night of July 31, I asked the biggest of my life: “Will you marry me?”

How I got there is a whole different story.  As Casey and I fell in love, it became natural to talk about our future and marriage. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and grow a family together. She is, quite simply, the most genuinely kind person I’ve ever met and I have been lucky to spend the last two years of my life with her.

During the summer, I began talking with my family about how much I wanted to propose to Casey. They were over the moon because they’ve grown to love her as well and see how much she makes our family better. So, in late July, I went with my mother and bought a ring.

I got in the car and said, “Well, I did that.” My mother smiles and laughed and told me how happy she was.

And then… I had no plan. Over the next couple of days, I talked with people about having the ring and how it didn’t belong to me. It belonged to Casey. But, people had loads of recommendations: Camden Yards (so not Casey), movie theater, special spots, etc.

The one thing I needed to do was speak to her parents and tell them of my intentions and ask for their blessing. So, I talked her mother, Susanne, in late July and asked if I could sit down with her and Casey’s dad, Bruce. On the morning of  our arranged conversation, I went to Mass with Casey and her parents. In the church parking lot, I panicked a little about the duffel bag in my trunk,  and pushed my bag to the back. I was worried the sun would beat down on the prize inside– the ring. You see, I wanted to show it to her parents.

So, as I pushed the bag, Casey asked what was up. I played it off and said I was pushing the bag out of the sun. She asked, “What’s in there?” I replied, “nothing,” and quickly shut the trunk. After Mass, I parted ways with the family and headed to a work planning meeting. I took the ring in with me and kept it in a camera bag in front of me. I was done having it out of

my sight. I was too nervous.

After the meeting, I nervously drove back to Ellicott City to the Anderson home. Sweat dripped down my face and back. I stopped breathing. I walked in shaking and we made our way to the back living room area. We made small talk about my Madrid trip and blood rose up my neck. They knew what was coming, but calmly indulged me as I changed subjects.

“Listen, I think you know how much Casey means to me,” I said, as they smiled. “I love her so much. I don’t know if I’m asking permission or what, but I know I want to let you know that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I would like to propose to her.”

They smiled, saying they were happy that I had come to see them.  During the conversation, they asked when I planned to propose and I decided to show them the ring and I confessed how much trouble I was having coming up with a time and a place. During our conversation, Casey texted me from her office at St. John the Evangelist in Severna Park.  It said that she had meetings during the next few days and that we wouldn’t see each other until Thursday.

Her mom smiled and said, “That’s going to burn a hole in your pocket, isn’t it? Why not tonight?”

“You know what,” I said, “why not tonight?”

I texted and called Casey with a made-up story that I was shopping in the area and wanted to get together for dinner since I’d miss her those three days.

Her mom got all excited and started running around the house, collecting  a bottle of champagne, some glasses and some ice, and shoving them in a cooler for me to bring along.

I drove out to Severna Park with no actual plan other than the idea to go to Annapolis with her and see what happened next. When we got to Annapolis, I wasn’t breathing much. All through dinner, I was actin

g goofy and barely getting words out. Casey played it off because she’s that sweet.  By the time we were done, it was nearly 10 p.m. and I asked if she wanted to go walk along the water. I thought we’d be alone on a Sunday evening, but it was a nice enough evening outside that when we got to the dock there were still plenty of people milling about.

There was one thing I knew needed to happen with this proposal: it needed to be about she and I and not a bunch of strangers watching on. So, we kept walking and I hoped I would find a spot along the water, perhaps a bridge, that would provide a nice view. Alas, God was having fun with me and there was nothing secluded nearby. So, we walked toward the campus of St. Mary’s Church, which has a garden along the water. I hoped to do it there.

A locked fence stood in our way. Denied again!  So, I took her hand and walked a few more feet. Finally, there was water hit by moonlight. I turned to her.

“Listen,  I have a confession to make. I didn’t just happen to be in the neighborhood, like I said this evening,” I said.

She looked surprised. “Really?”

“Yeah, I was actually meeting with your parents and I was telling them how much I loved you and how much I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and wanted to propose to you.”

Again, she said, “Really?!”

the garden at St. Mary's

“Yes,” I offered, “so that’s what I’m going to do right now.”

As I got down on one knee, I pulled the ring out of my pocket.

“Casey, I love you so much,” I said. “Will you marry me?”

And then I heard the two greatest words of all-time.

“Yes please!”

We hugged and kissed. Because there was a little darkness, she couldn’t see the ring too much. So, we walked over to the light and talked some more. After about 10 minutes, I looked at her and said, “We should pray together.”

So, we walked a few feet behind the church and the rectory to a statue of Mary with a child Jesus. We took each other’s hands and offered some intentions: for a blessed and joyful marriage. We prayed a Hail Mary together as we looked into each other’s eyes.

I have never felt more connected to another person than at that moment. I have never been happier, either.

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Welcome to Cassandra and Matt’s Engagement Blog, which will take you from the moment Matt bought the ring right on through… oh, who knows what life will bring? It’s indefinite and so is this blog.

Beyond our story, you’ll get regularly updated wedding details, dates, registry locations and photos that share our sacramental journey with you.

at the Navy-MD game

Love,

Casey & Matt

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