Love in the time of coronavirus: Couple marries in Richmond parish before state-wide shutdown
April 14, 2020
Above: Annie and Robert Vasquez were married on March 25 at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Richmond. She and her husband Roberto Vasquez pushed their wedding date forward because of the coronavirus. Below: Annie Vasquez prays with her friends and family in person and on video chat before her wedding on March 24. (Photo courtesy of Annie Vasquez/Andy from Tecla Productions)
RICHMOND — On March 24, the eve of the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Annie and Roberto Vasquez joined their hands in marriage at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Richmond.
It wasn’t what they planned, but Annie still walked down the aisle, wearing a gorgeous white lace wedding dress and carrying light-colored roses.
Roberto, wearing a peach-colored bow tie, didn’t see Annie until she walked down the aisle. They still prayed together before the Mass, reaching around a church column to hold hands.
They may have been the last couple to get married in a Catholic Church before Fort Bend County issued a stay at home order that day to slow the pandemic outbreak.
Father Jesse Garcia, pastor of St. John Fisher, celebrated their wedding, joined by Annie and Roberto’s immediate family.
Still, even with the sudden changes — they made the decision that same day — they’re confident and thankful they decided to speed up their wedding date.
“At the end of the day, what we realized was that we just wanted to be married. We realized that our marriage was more important to us than a wedding day,” Annie said. “We were just ready to begin our vocation, to begin what God created us to do and be. And we’re so glad we did.”
In an intimate moment before the wedding, her friends and family prayed with her in person and via video calling.
Despite technology, the hardest part of the change was the absence of friends and family.
“We always had these expectations,” Annie said. “The hardest part was letting go of expectations.”
In his homily, Father Garcia told the couple that their wedding and love can be a light in a world of darkness and difficulty.
Though the decision may have felt chaotic, Annie and Robert said they both felt joy and peace throughout the wedding.
“During the wedding, the coronavirus wasn’t even in the back of my mind,” said Roberto. “Jesus, just clearly, took care of everything.”
And because of the changes, so many more loved ones than they ever thought were able to witness their wedding because they livestreamed the wedding on Facebook. Annie said many friends, who she might not keep in touch with regularly, joined in to view the stream, including a former elementary school teacher.
“It was so cool to see everyone come together,” she said.
And while the future may not seem clear — plans for a reception are still up in the air — the couple knows to turn to the Lord in both their lives and their new marriage.
“Even though (the wedding) looked nothing like what we imagined it to look, it was so much better. There was so much joy… I never felt like (we were) lacking in anything. It was a very peaceful time,” said Annie. “We saw the gift of the Sacrament and the gift of community” in a big way.