Wednesday, December 28, 2022

(273) The COVID WEDDING of NAOMI MARIE SEBASTIAN + JOHN FARO: Two Gallia County Rural Ohio Residents Who Discovered Each Other in the Big City

AMDG 

The Wedding Portrait of Naomi & John Faro December 28, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio

      In 2017 Naomi graduated as a freshly minted nurse from Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She was going to the big city…….Pittsburgh and find herself a MAN…….no man from rural Gallia County was good enough for her.  She was hired for a nursing position at Montefiore Hospital.  Nicole Baker, daughter of our wonderful neighbors next door and her close friend since 3rd grade, accompanied Naomi for her pre-employment physical.  Nicole, called up one of her friends to join them for lunch.  A graduate in Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh, he was doing research in Pittsburgh before applying to med school. 

This guy later followed up and kept contact with Naomi.  They became friends and then close friends.  Naomi wanted to bring this guy home for a visit.  Where’s this guy from?  You guessed it!  Gallia County of all places in this wide wide world.  So you can take the girl out of Gallia County, but you can't take Gallia County out of the girl.  They hardly knew each other at Gallia Academy despite being in the same senior class.  He was right under her nose for 18 years and had to go all the way to Pittsburgh to discover him.  Dr. David Faro, his father, was encouraging…… “She’s a keepher!”  Keep her.  Indeed he did and he wouldn’t let go.  May it always be that way!  

      So Naomi brought John Faro home to introduce him to us.  Now I’m not going to let any guy date my daughter.  He had to pass a test.  “Are you a Pirate fan?” Check.  Are you a Penguin fan?  Check.  Are you a citizen of Steeler Nation?  You passed; you are welcome to date my daughter; you are welcome in this house at any time.”  At dinner my wife Jaga fell in love with John more than Naomi did.  It was love at first sight of her future son-in-law.

      Naomi loves to doodle.  Remember grade school when the nuns or lay teachers would make us write lines, “I will behave; I will never pull Nicole’s pig tails” 100 times.  Naomi wrote something else 100 times…….  “Naomi Marie Faro; Naomi Marie Faro; Naomi Marie Faro.”  And now guess what?  She now is Naomi Marie Faro!  Yes!

      In the Fall of 2018 John was accepted at the University of Cincinnati Medical School.  Naomi quit her job and looked for another one in Cincinnati.  It was the job of her dreams since grade school when she would watch births on the Life Channel.  It was to be a Labor & Delivery Nurse.  And that’s the position she got…….providential!  As a little girl, she was my Naomi the mouse; then Naomi the Fish when she was a varsity swimmer at Franciscan University; now she’s Naomi the stork and before long she will be a baseball Mom.  John was a catcher and later an outfielder for Gallia Academy.  The people at the hospital just assumed that John and Naomi were living together.  Naomi simply replied: “No we’re not.” 

John Faro, the Gallia Academy High School Catcher in 2013, his senior year.

Naomi and John often would come for dinner; Jaga loves to cook; and John loves Jaga’s cooking.  Perhaps it’s true…… “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.

                                         

And finally he proposed and she said “Yes” at the Bob Evans Pond in Rio Grande, Ohio.  We'll have to put a monument there to mark the spot on the shores of the Bob Evans Farm Pond.

      Finally, --I guess some three years since they discovered each other in Pittsburgh--, Naomi began to wonder: “When is John going to propose?”  Finally that summer they were over at our house and took a walk.  I knew something was up because a week or two earlier this third year medical student, like a true gentleman, asked me for Naomi’s hand.  They went all the way to the pond on the Bob Evans Farm, a recent donation to the University of Rio Grande.  They came back excited, particularly Naomi to tell us the big news.  He finally proposed!  Now we’ll have to put a monument on the spot on the banks of the Bob Evans Farm Pond where John proposed to Naomi and Naomi said yes on June 20, 2020.

      Medical School with its demanding clinicals made a Fall 2020 or a Spring 2021 wedding impossible.  However, since John had the between semesters Christmas break, they set December 28, 2020 as the wedding date. 

      John had to leave his former apartment because the lease was up in August.  Naomi found an apartment for the both of them, but could not occupy it since John needed a place to live and they weren’t married yet.  She found a Solomonic solution.  Her cousin John & Ann Sebastian graciously allowed her to stay with them for those few months before marriage and their daughter Kate, away at school, let Naomi occupy her room.  Thank you John and Naomi for doing it the right way and waiting.  You won’t regret it.  Thank you for being counter cultural in our oversexed society.  

They had big plans…….big wedding reception at Rhinegeist, a Cincinnati brewery; and honeymoon in Cancún, a resort city on the pacific coast of Mexico in the dead of winter.  However, the ugly monster, Covid-19 crawled onto the scene, eager to destroy those big plans and dreams.  Many of those invited to the wedding did not “save the date”, December 28, 2020 for fear of Covid.  There was already a surge that summer and another was expected during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.  Even most of the relatives, who attended Stephanie & Daniel’s wedding a year before in Dallas, sent their regrets.

      The couple thus had to adapt and settle for a wedding only attended by immediate family, the wedding party, and close friends.  Naomi canceled the brewery venue and fought for a refund of the deposit.  Since the medical school forbade any of its students to leave the country, they had to cancel the honeymoon in Cancún, but the agency insisted on only giving them credit for another date before his internship and residency begin. Disneyworld served as a substitute.  The honeymooners did make Cancún a second honeymoon during a break before their May 1, 2022 graduation almost 16 months after their wedding, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.  Let’s get back to December 2020.

   On December 24 Stephanie, the Maid of Honor, threw a bridal shower for her sister at our home in Rio Grande on the eastern side of the state of Ohio.  It was just family.  Uncle John, Aunt Kathleen, and Naomi’s cousins attended via Zoom from several locations on December 24.  Stephanie decorated our home with Candyland as the theme.

 Naomi's friends had a Bachelorette Party, socializing and playing games on the night before the wedding in an Air B & B.  

      Our family and spouses stayed at an Air B & B that Naomi arranged.  It consisted of four bedrooms, one for each couple on the nights of December 27 & 28.  It was the top floor of an old mansion with a fridge and kitchen to cook meals.

Getting ready.  Big sister Stephanie, representing Prince John, administers the test.  Will the glass slipper fit?


The wedding day has finally arrived.  The bride is ready for the big ceremony and Mama Jaga approves as she did so many times since the time when Naomi was a little girl.  Don't they both look gorgeous?  Now it's a matter of getting her to the church on time.


Great for the cover of Vogue Magazine!

      The beautiful and large St. Mary’s Church in Cincinnati was the wedding site and the parish took care of the marriage preparation although a more thorough prep and wedding rehearsal would have been better.  Naomi’s favorite uncle, Deacon John Sebastian would marry them.  Despite being high risk for the disease, Covid or no Covid, both John and his wife Kathleen made it from Chicago just in time ……..reminiscent of the Broadway play, “My Fair Lady”………. “Get them to the church; get them to the church on time”.  For fear of Covid which would have been very serious due to an underlying medical condition, Kathleen wouldn't let me hug her as a greeting. 

A father's last time with his daughter as a single girl.  Since she was born on my birthday in 1994, she was the best birthday gift I ever had and I was supposed to give her away.  Are you kidding me?

    Now that their day had come, I was asked to give my daughter away.  Are you kidding me?  No way.  I wouldn’t give my daughter away to anybody.  Anyhow, she’s not mine to give.  

  

I deliver Naomi safe and sound to John Faro in the presence of her Uncle John Sebastian, the masked deacon during a nation wide surge of the Covid-19 virus.      

    "John, I entrust Naomi to you........I trust that you will give yourself completely to her and she will reciprocate.   I trust that you would be willing to die for her.  I trust that you will always be faithful, you exclusively for her and she exclusively for you.  I trust that your Naomi & the family that the Lord gives you will always be number one in your life over career and avocations, even if you become a world renowned doctor and I think that’s very possible.  You are a tremendously hard worker."


Deacon John Sebastian blesses the rings the couple exchanged.  Each said I do and are now Mr. and Mrs. Faro.

     It was an honor to have my younger brother and Naomi’s favorite Uncle, Deacon John as the celebrant.  Twenty years before little Naomi loved to play “Paddy Cake” with her Uncle John.  Who would have dreamed at the time that Uncle John would someday be the celebrant at her wedding with another John?  The Deacon smoothly went through the wedding ceremony and gave a beautiful homily.  See the complete text in the appendix.  


Now One as Man and Wife

      We have been blessed with wonderful neighbors on both sides and back of us.  Naomi would  baby sit for the Shenks’ three cute daughters.  Mother and daughters were dying to see their babysitter get married.  Even though Naomi and John had to cut the invitations down to relatives and close friends, Amber and the girls still made it, driving three hours from the other side of the state near the Ohio River to our surprise and delight.  Thank you so much for doing that, Amber.    


Now Married


The Faro Family has increased by one with the addition of Naomi Sebastian Faro for a total of eight.  Soon it will be nine with the addition of Sachel,  then fiancé and now wife of DJ.  From left to right are DJ, Kim, Dr. David Faro and his new daughter (in-law) Naomi, the groom John, his mother Beverly, Josh, and Jacob.







The Faro Family has increased by one with the addition of Naomi Sebastian Faro for a total of eight.  Soon it will be nine with the addition of Sachel now fiancé of DJ.  From left to right are DJ, Kim, Dr. David Faro and his new daughter (in-law) Naomi, the groom John, his mother Beverly, Josh, and Jacob.


One new extended family all together.  Naomi and John are the links which make the Faros and the Sebastians one grand extended family.  On the extreme right are Sachel, DJ’s fiancé then and wife now and Allison who, since a little girl, was like a member of the Faro family.

      Let us not forget the members of the extended families who preceded Naomi and John.  Surely they have had a significant influence on the lives of both.  Let us recognize them through the wedding photos of the parents of Naomi and John.   

   

Three people in this August 13, 1988 wedding photo of Naomi's’s parents Paul & Jaga Sebastian are no longer with us, but were present at the wedding of John and Naomi in spirit.  Many of the invited extended family did not attend because of a Covid surge towards the end of the year, but were also there in spirit.  From left to right are Nicole Sebastian Peeney, Frederyka Kasprowicz Gajda (Jaga’s mother, now deceased), John Sebastian (Paul’s younger brother), Dr. Stephanie Mihalich Sebastian (Naomi’s grandmother, now deceased), John Victor Sebastian II, Mark Sebastian, Jaga & Paul Sebastian, Michelle Sebastian Gleason, Frederick Sebastian (Paul’s youngest brother who never married, now deceased), and Kathleen Marks Sebastian (John’s wife).  Josef Gajda, Jaga's father could not make it and Dr. John J.S. Sebastian, Paul's father had died nine years earlier in 1979.  Among the fruits of the marriage of Paul and Jaga is the beautiful bride, Naomi.  We are looking forward to the fruits of the marriage of Naomi and John.  Look who has the grey hair now.  Time marches on until we’re all together again for that big party in Heaven.  You’re all invited; MAKE SURE YOU GET THERE.

The Byrnes side of the newly extended Faro family after the wedding of John's parents, Dr. David & Beverly Faro in 1989.  In the front row from left to right are Leo Leslie, Ken Byrnes, Mark Diffendal, Shirley Fleming, Michelle Raubach, Tim Byrnes II, Beverly Salamon, and Chris Faro.  In the back row are Steve Faro, Joyce (Joy) Ward, Beverly Faro, David Faro, Lynn King, Tim Byrnes, Sarah Faro.  The names in bold are deceased.  May they rest in peace.

The Faro side of the newly extended Faro family after the wedding of John's parents, Dr. David & Beverly Faro in 1989. In the front row from left to right are Chris Faro, Kathy Faro, Lorraine Ramey, Steve Faro.  The back row includes Norman Faro, Dianne Faro, Beverly Faro, David Faro, Sarah Faro.  The names in bold are deceased.  May they rest in peace.


The beautiful bride and her lovely bridesmaids.  From left to right are Elizabeth Feudo Stroka, Nicole Baker Love, Kierstin Baucom, Naomi the bride, Stephanie Sebastian Spiotta (Maid of Honor), Elizabeth Herrera Sebastian, Martha Menefee, and Kimberly Faro.


The studs ready for the draw.  The groomsmen from left to right are Nathan Wiseman, Jacob Shockey, David Faro (Best Man), the groom John Faro, Jacob Faro, Joshua Faro,  John-Paul Sebastian, and Joseph Sebastian.

The wedding party all together from left to right: Nicole Baker Love, Martha Menefee, Kierstin Baucom, Elizabeth Feudo Stroka, Elizabeth Herrera Sebastian, Stephanie Sebastian Spiotta (Maid of Honor), Kimberly Faro, John Faro (the Groom), Naomi Sebastian Faro (the Bride), Jacob Faro, David Faro (Best Man), Joshua Faro,  Jacob Shockey, Joseph Sebastian, Nathan Wiseman, and John-Paul Sebastian.

Nicole Baker Love became the girl next door when her family moved to Rio Grande in about 2003.  They have been wonderful neighbors.  Naomi and Nicole were about nine years old and immediately became lifelong friends.  They would play with their dolls and play school.  Nicole would be the teacher.  They were enterprising too.......opening up a lemonade stand in front of the Baker home on State Route 588.  I was one of their first customers.  They were very cute little girls then and look at them now.  Wow!  Oh what God can do!


Here Naomi is with her roommate when students at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  Elizabeth Feudo Stroka was adopted as a baby by the very loving Feudo family many years ago and she turned into a real gem.  Elizabeth has been a graphic designer for the Archdiocese of Boston.


A friend since childhood Jacob Shockey turned down a scholarship to a pharmacy program and decided to study for the holy ministry.  Now he is the campus minister for Kentucky Christian University.  He is currently preparing to teach divinity courses there as well.  Rev. Shockey gave the blessing before the wedding feast.


Another friend since childhood Nathan Wiseman worked in the Sports Information departments of Michigan State and later Purdue.  Now he is the Manager of Digital Media and Content for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League.

The Reception


The reception venue at Carlo & Johnny's 

      The reception was at Carlo & Johnny's, a more intimate setting with family, wedding party, and close friends.  Those who attended knew most of the others.  We had a great time.  All in all, it was a unique and most memorable wedding that no one among us will ever forget.  For some interviews of those who attended go to

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F521644687%2Fd14266e365%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0WP7uR62O0FESy9saoP3GPpBA1d98oN_To_PqkJW70YEx7-BDYpciyYWc&h=AT3NdVxx1AIirvt5blRVgMzWbqiwqpsELTxplFnCwQy7eaJiMVr-V36HxqjIRK3JdfsPxZ4qvYzRCgVeFk1YrWkR64_xC1MpHPXYoZ4HQMeJ9Ks7mXFfL1inplSCGrUCygo

Starting off a great mother and son-in-law relationship with a kiss during the bread and salt ritual.  She fell in love with John before Naomi did.......just kidding.  They hit it off beautifully when Naomi first brought him home.


By popular demand.  A wedding isn't a wedding without a big time kiss and here it is.  May they never miss a good night kiss.  May every argument end with a kiss.

A wedding isn't a wedding without a tall sugary calorie filled cake and there it is.  

Who won that battle?  May they constantly feed each other physically and spiritually and give themselves completely to each other for many, many years in constant self-giving love until death do they part.  That's what Christian marriage is all about.  It's mutual sanctification.  

And they could have danced all night!

Sheriff Jim Byrnes and his beautiful daughter Josephine made it all the way from California.

     What makes this wedding feast so special was the people who did come, Covid or no Covid.  Were it not for Covid, we would have family and friends coming from all over the country.  Still Sheriff Jim Byrnes and his lovely daughter Josephine made it all the way from the left coast. 

     We all enjoyed some old pictures of John and Naomi on the big screen.

Despite all of the obstacles, it was a beautiful wedding.  A surprising number of people attended, but some excused themselves from the reception because of Covid fears.  


Here the mother of the groom, Beverly Faro dances with her “Johnny Boy”, his boyhood nickname.  Beverly and her husband David were certainly instrumental in the success of their son in medical school.

Beverly Faro, the groom’s mother, had been fighting cancer for two years now and  WINNING!  She’s here too with her husband, Dr. David Faro.  That woman is unsinkable.  Thank you all so much for coming!  You know……with all of that fear of Covid, not one person who attended the wedding came down with Covid.  Thank you, Lord!

                     
    But because of Covid, many backed out.  It looks like the Faro side won in attendance.  We made the best out of this and still had a great time.  Whether 25,000 people attend or only 25, Mr. and Mrs. Faro are married and that’s all that matters!  It’s going to be a great marriage!  Yes?  Absolutely YES! 

The fact that you are here entails some sacrifice, some risk of bad weather, and that monster, Covid.  Thank you so much for being here.  

     Many more would have come if they could and they are here in spirit.  And we know that our deceased loved ones in the Faro, Byrnes, Gajda, and Sebastian extended families are here very much in spirit such as Grandpa & Grandma Sebastian and Dziadek & Babcia Gajda.  I loved Babcia Gajda; she taught Baby Stephanie how to walk and treated us like royalty in Poland.  Babcia was the ideal mother-in-law.  She spoke no English and I spoke no Polish and we got along great!  

       In her old age Grandma Sebastian wanted no part of any nursing home.  So Jaga, the bride’s mother, took care of her.  She was happy living with us and watching her four grandchildren run around from her observation post at the kitchen table by the window.  She died in our living room, practically in Jaga’s arms at the age of 97.  The money she saved because of Jaga’s care is financing this wedding reception.  Without Jaga she would have been wiped out financially in a nursing home.  So consider Grandma Sebastian as the co-hostess of this feast along with Jaga.

       Give this couple, John & Naomi Faro a lot of credit for handling adversity, and bouncing with the punches. They had to be flexible and resilient.    They made plans for a big wedding and a honeymoon on the beach in Cancún, México.  Since so many relatives on both sides backed out, Naomi and John had to cancel the original reception.  Dealing with such adversity is great training for life.

Leaving the wedding reception in style

  See the appendix for the complete texts of the toasts and comments with photos which will be posted shortly.

   For an excellent overall video, go to    

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F521633711%2Fc13457b920%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR3m5-IlZjUlz7gLFMQ8COFD_NtDKLmGhNb2pnHEVW3eV41YlkPEoGYJ5iE&h=AT3NdVxx1AIirvt5blRVgMzWbqiwqpsELTxplFnCwQy7eaJiMVr-36HxqjIRK3JdfsPxZ4qvYzRCgVeFk1YrWkR64_xC1MpHPXYoZ4HQMeJ9Ks7mXFfL1inplSCGrUCygo

    For an album of pictures, click on

https://olgapolo.passgallery.com/-johnnaomi/gallery


    If you haven't had enough of weddings, You might want to take another look at the weddings of our daughter Stephanie & Daniel Spiotta and our son John-Paul & Elizabeth.  Go to

(218) Stephanie Mary Sebastian + Daniel Joseph Spiotta: United as One in a Beautiful Traditional Yet Unique Marriage in a Latin Mass Roman Catholic Church (A link to all wedding photos are included.)

          https://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com/2019/02/218-stephanie-mary-sebastian-daniel.html

 and

(246) John-Paul Sebastian + Elizabeth Herrera:  A Man of Polish Heritage and a Woman of Latin American Heritage Blend Into One. 

         https://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com/2020/12/246-john-paul-sebastian-elizabeth-lee.html


Appendix I

A WEDDING TOAST BY THE FATHER OF THE GROOM

By Dr. David J. Faro During the Rehearsal Dinner at the Buca di Beppo Restaurant in Cincinnati December 27, 2020

I wonder as I stand

What are the words that I can say

To bless this happy couple

And to start them on their way

 

What insights can I offer

During a year that's so bizarre

To help them understand

How really fortunate they are

 

Every wedding day is special

But this one's special plenty

It will be a mark of pride

To say you wed in 2020

 

When he said that love was patient

As he said that love was kind

This must have been the kind of year

That St. Paul had in mind

 

And because you've shown so much patience

There's a promise we can make

The challenges of wedded life

Will be a piece of cake

 

And the care you give your patients

To the young and to the old

A grateful God will give to you

Twenty-twenty fold

 

Mexico is lovely

The water crystal clear

But Ohio or Orlando can be magical

Any time of year

 

And speaking of romantic

People think of France or Rome

But that real special place Rio

Is a lot closer to home

 

The longest-lasting marriages

Get their light and heat

Where the mighty Allegheny 

And the Monongahela meet

 

And your Mom and I are smiling

'Cause we're tickled through and through

That fate would have you meet

In the place where we met, too

 

I'm sorry that tomorrow

Won't be quite the big affair

With all those happy people

Whose affection that you share

 

Now, I'm certain that you know this

But I want you kids to hear it

Everyone you love (or have loved)

Is with you here in spirit

 

Son, I need to thank you

For all the fun we've had

It was a gift from God

When I got to be your Dad

 

To see you set yourself a goal

To focus and believe it

To find your place in medicine

And press on to achieve it

 

I promise I'll go to the gym

You know my spirit's willing

But seeing you develop 

Is even more fulfilling

 

I know that in the next few years

We'll see you less and less

Working seven days a week

Can cause a little stress

 

But here's a little benefit

We can be thankful for

Now that you are man and wife

We'll see Naomi more

 

Thank you, Dear Naomi

For the happiness you've brought him

For all your tender wisdom

And everything you've taught him

 

For the way Naomi smiles

And the way Naomi cares

Shows that she's the answer

To these parents' special prayers

 

May you find the understanding 

Which surpasses any knowing

And the love that you think perfect now

Amazingly, keep growing

 

May affection keep you near us

Ambition, take you far

May you, when the time comes,

Learn what a blessing children are

 

May you always live in gratitude 

For how God's goodness found you

And share your love of living

With everyone around you

 

May your futures be rewarded

With countless celebrations

And tomorrow only be the first

Of many great occasions

 

Now, stand and raise a glass with me

Dear friends who fill this room

To Naomi and John

The happy bride and groom


Appendix II

THE MARRIAGE HOMILY

By the Bride's Uncle Deacon John Sebastian

I want to begin by asking you to think about this question: what is marriage?

Some say marriage is a contract.  Well, that’s true enough.  After this ceremony, I will sign John and Naomi’s wedding license sealing the validity of the contract.  But you know the definition of a contract these days, don’t you?  It’s a piece of paper that parties to the contract adhere to unless they became unhappy.  Then a contract is something you get out of. 

In the church, marriage is much stronger than a contract.  It’s a bond, a covenant, a solemn promise made before God and all of you.  It’s so important and profound an event that, in the Catholic Church, the wedding must take place in a consecrated church before the altar of the Lord and witnesses.  In our Christian faith, this promise, this bond between Naomi and John, is unconditional; it is non-cancellable; it is irrevocable; it is life- long.

In the Old Testament, marriage is compared to the covenant between God and His chosen people.  In the New Testament, the gospels and epistles, like St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, make it perfectly clear that the bond between husband and wife is like the bond between Christ and His Church.  It will never be broken.  The love that Naomi and John have for each other is compared to the love that Our Father in Heaven through Jesus Christ Our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, have for each other and for us, for you. 

John and Naomi, as you know, this has been a very strange and sad year up to today.  The events of 2020, a polarized electorate, bitter racial tensions, and Covid  have been unnerving.  But, I’ve got to tell you that there have been many years in history when events have been worse, far worse than 2020.  Let me give you an example.

I want to tell you a true story about love, commitment, and marriage.

Ford Callis was caught up in patriotic fervor following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the declaration of war against Japan and Nazi Germany.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army and prepared for boot camp and deployment overseas.  But, before he did that, Ford asked his girlfriend, Daisy, to marry him, which she did.  He promised her that he would make it through this horrible war.  She promised to be faithful and pray for his safe return. 

After military training, Ford was sent to war with the 36th Infantry Division.  His battalion made its way to the French Alps where a substantially larger force of Nazi soldiers surrounded the battalion and began starving them out.  Following failed rescue attempts by two other battalions of the 36th Infantry, they became known as the Lost Battalion. 

For eight days the battalion was without food and water and stuck in foxholes eating worms for food and pond water for drink. They held their positions despite constant bombardment.  Finally, Ford’s unit was liberated on the 9th day of the siege.  After Ford recovered from his wounds, he came home to Daisy.   While in his foxhole, he drew courage from his faith and his commitment to come home to Daisy.

We advance forward 75 years and Ford and Daisy are now well into their 90s.    Daisy suffers from dementia and Ford is determined to take care of her.  One night, Ford heard Daisy scream from his bedroom, and in his haste to come to her aid, he fell out of bed, hit his head against the nightstand, broke several bones around his eye and severely injured his shoulder and chest as he fell to the floor.  He tried to crawl to the phone as he had crawled to his foxhole as a soldier, but was unable to get there.   He lay there for many hours until a daughter came over to see why he wasn’t answering the phone.

Ford was rushed to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center not far from his home outside Nashville.  In the ICU, physicians noted that, in addition to his injuries, Ford’s kidneys had shut down, he had a bleeding stress ulcer, and a blood clot in his leg, all of which led them to surmise that he was going to die. 

It took some days, but incredibly, Ford survived.  When Ford finally awakened in the ICU, his first sentence was “Doctor, I need you to get me home to my Daisy as soon as you can.”  Because of his marriage, Ford had undergone the type of change in his soul that no personal injury or earthly event like war, could undo.  He told his doctor, “Having someone believe in me and waiting for me back home gave me purpose.  I am more than myself because of our marriage.  I hope people won’t give up on their marriage either--even when the sparks of romance seem distant.”

Ford eventually regained color and strength, and on the morning of his hospital discharge he told staffers, “You know, it takes three people to stay married: Daisy, me, and God.  We are one, and nothing will ever change that, nothing.”

The German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was writing to his niece before her wedding.  This is what he wrote from his Nazi prison cell: Marriage is more than your love for each other.  In your love you only see the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed in a post of responsibility toward the world and mankind.  Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a mission, an office—a duty.”  The story of Ford and Daisy generated lots of discussion around the hospital for a long time. 

Their covenant liberated their souls and gave them a higher purpose.  This is Christian love.  We are at our best when we serve one another.  I will close with this line, also attributed to Bonhoeffer: “It is not your love that sustains your marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”  It is not your love that sustains your marriage but marriage that sustains your love.  May God bless you, John and Naomi.  May you be inspired by the story of Ford and Daisy to dedicate your lives to God and to each other.


Appendix III

 

           MAID OF HONOR TOAST TO NAOMI & JOHN 

By Stephanie Sebastian Spiotta, Older Sister of the Bride

Having known Naomi for 26 years, I’ve been able to observe the development of her particular, lovable qualities, dear to us, and indeed, dear to John.

From a little girl Naomi was smiley, cute, and easy to play with (except for the occasional pinch), up for just about anything her friends and siblings wanted to do. Her distinctive and important quirky quality that would become more pronounced later I can still see latently in her childhood the time she voluntarily carried out John-Paul’s idea to sign a relative’s birthday card, “P.S. I have small teeth.”

Several years later her quirkiness flowed out in her voice in an interesting and original exclamation, the “pachow, pachow.” It was a strange, but ultimately cheerful, sound and part of her good humor: “pachow, pachow, pachow, pachow.”

By the time Naomi was spending time with, and gaining interest in, John, she was fully and confidently quirky as to wonder, “Is John weird enough for me?” They soon discovered many proofs of the precious “mutual quirkiness” which they professedly enjoy together.

One manifestation of this kindred quality to onlookers was notably the time Naomi and John found an adult onesie poop costume at St. Vincent de Paul’s. They showed up to a party as the dynamic doo-doo, ehem, duo, of poop and toilet and paper. Maybe it was a Halloween party; I’m not clear on that detail. Maybe they’re just that quirky.

 A propos of all this, I told Naomi that I thought it would be fitting if I prepared a scatologically themed speech. Only half joking, I thought I wouldn’t be able to hold it in, but I wasn’t quite able to get it down on paper, was pretty wiped out by the effort, and flushed just thinking about it. I decided not to be a party pooper and just do my duty. You’re welcome.

Naomi, I’m so glad you’ve found your quirky best friend, but that joy would be short-lived if John weren’t also a good man, and a good man is hard to find: one who’s a gentleman, who is respectful and gracious, who is happiest when those around him are happy, who especially makes it his business to make you happy.

I’m glad you’ve found a family man, someone who has been one of his mother’s greatest supports in her battle against cancer, who thinks ahead to would yield the most time with his wife and children as he chooses his medical specialty. Who already is getting you into the habit of only using the back burners when cooking so your future children won’t burn themselves. You are blessed to have John as the head of your family.

Two are better than one, but best is when two become one in a mysterious union sanctioned by God in the holy sacrament of matrimony. I pray that together you draw deeply from the graces available to you in this sacrament and let the Lord knit your hearts closer and closer your whole life’s journey. 

 

                                     Appendix IV

                                      

A WEDDING TOAST BY THE BEST MAN 

                By David Faro, older brother of the gro

Hi everyone! I’m Dave, John’s oldest brother, best man, and our parents favorite son. I appreciate everyone for being here today, and those who are here in spirit during these crazy times.

 

  • Body

Many people believe that there is one perfect person for everyone. And while I can’t speak about everyone, I do know about john and Naomi. Fate has brought them together, and there couldn't be a more perfect match. 

 

Anyone who knows these two knows how much love they share for each other. They also both  share a similar sense of humor, and their laughter will surely brighten each others lives in the coming years. In honor of that, now seems like a good a moment to share a few of the funnier moments from John’s past. 

 

Some of you here today may remember John by his former stage  name: Debra peaches jalapeño, when he acted as one of green elementary’s most infamous drag queens. 

 

My favorite John story was from back in our wrestling days in Jr.high: where he somehow managed to convince half the team that not only was he adopted, but that he was in fact a refugee  from Bolivia.  Despite not knowing a word of Spanish. 

 

In all seriousness:  the John hasn’t always been the hard working, ambitious medical student he is today. John has always been quick witted, and quicker  with a laugh and a smile. And that smile has never been brighter than it has been with Naomi. She has truly brought out the joy in him.  

 

We all had the opportunity to witness that first hand last year when Naomi joined us for the holidays. It was clear then that she felt right at home with our family, and it seemed as clear then as it does now that they would have many holidays together ahead-of them. 

 

  • Thanks/wrap up
    • I appreciate everyone’s patience with me while I keep you from enjoying your wine glasses this evening. Without further ado, i’d like to propose a toast: to John and Naomi, the newly weds.

                                                                                     Appendix V

 Remarks by Dr. Paul R. Sebastian, Father of the Bride

        You know?  I feel like I’m at Cana.  Let’s all imagine that we all are at the wedding feast of Cana.  Our Lord is here and indeed He is and Mary is here too.  John, if we run out of wine, go to Mary and do what He tells you.  When in trouble, run to Mother Mary and do what our Lord tells you.  What a great rule for one’s life!

       In 2017 Naomi graduated as a freshly minted nurse from Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She was going to the big city…….Pittsburgh and find herself a MAN…….nobody from Gallia County was good enough for her.  She was hired for a nursing position at Montefiore Hospital.  Nicole Baker, daughter of our wonderful neighbors and her close friend since 3rd grade, accompanied Naomi for her Physical.  Nicole, called up one of her friends to join them.  He was doing research in Pittsburgh before applying to med school.  This guy later followed up and kept contact with Naomi.  They became friends and then close friends.  Naomi wanted to bring this guy home for a visit.  Where’s this guy from?  You guessed it!  Gallia County of all places in this wide wide world.  They hardly knew each other at Gallia Academy.  Dr. David Faro, his father, was encouraging…… “She’s a keepher!”  Keep her.  And indeed he did.

       So Naomi brought John Faro home to introduce him to us.  Now I’m not going to let any guy date my daughter.  He had to pass a test.  “Are you a Pirate fan?” Check.  Are you a Penguin fan?  Check.  Are you a citizen of Steeler Nation?  You passed; you are welcome to date my daughter; you are welcome in this house at any time.”  At dinner Jaga fell in love with John more than Naomi did.

       Naomi loves to doodle.  Remember grade school when the nuns or lay teacher would make us write lines, “I will behave; I will never pull Nicole’s pig tails” 100 times.  Naomi wrote something else 100 times…….  “Naomi Marie Faro; Naomi Marie Faro; Naomi Marie Faro.”  And now guess what?  She now is Naomi Marie Faro!  Yes!

        In the Fall of 2018 John was accepted at the University of Cincinnati Medical School.  Naomi quit her job and looked for another one in Cincinnati.  It was the job of her dreams since grade school when she would watch births on the Life Channel.  It was to be a labor & Delivery Nurse.  And that’s the position she got…….providential.  Before she was my Naomi the mouse; then Naomi the Fish when she was a college varsity swimmer; now she’s Naomi the stork and before long she will be a baseball Mom.  The people at the hospital just assumed that John and Naomi were living together.  Naomi simply replied: “No we’re not.”  Thank you both for doing it the right way and waiting.  You won’t regret it.  Thank you for being counter cultural in our oversexed society.  They often would come for dinner; Jaga loves to cook; and John loves Jaga’s cooking.

       Finally, I guess well over a year ago, Naomi began to wonder: “When is John going to propose?”  Finally last June, they were over at our house and took a walk.  I knew something was up because a week or two earlier John, like a true gentleman, asked me for Naomi’s hand.  They went all the way to the pond on the Bob Evans Farm, now the University of Rio Grande.  They came back excited, particularly Naomi to tell us the news.  He finally proposed.  Now we’ll have to put a monument on the spot on the banks of the Bob Evans Farm Pond where John proposed to Naomi and Naomi said yes on June 20, 2020.

        You know what makes this wedding feast so special?  You!  Every one of you.  Were it not for Covid, we would have family and friends coming from all over the country.  Still Sheriff Jim Byrnes and his- lovely daughter Josephine made it all the way from the left coast.  But because of Covid, most backed out.  It looks like the Faro side won in attendance.  We’re going to make the best out of this and still have a good time.  Whether 25,000 people attend or only 25, Mr. and Mrs. Faro are married and that’s the bottom line!  It’s going to be a great marriage!  Yes?  Absolutely YES!  Let’s hear it.  YES!  The fact that you are here entails some sacrifice and some risk of bad weather and that monster, Covid.  Beverly Faro, the groom’s mother, has been fighting cancer for two years now and is WINNING!  She’s here too.  That woman is unsinkable.  Thank you all so much for coming! 

          Many more would have come if they could and they are here in spirit.  And we know that our deceased loved ones in the Faro, Byrnes, Gajda, and Sebastian extended families are here very much in spirit such as Grandpa & Grandma Sebastian and Dziadek & Babcia Gajda.  I loved Babcia Gajda; she taught Baby Stephanie how to walk and treated us like royalty in Poland.  Babcia was the ideal mother-in-law.  She spoke no English and I spoke no Polish and we got along great!  In her old age Grandma Sebastian wanted no part of any nursing home.  So Jaga, the bride’s mother, took care of her.  She was happy living with us and watching her four grandchildren run around from her observation post at the kitchen table by the window.  She died in our living room, practically in Jaga’s arms at the age of 97.  The money she saved because of Jaga’s care is financing this wedding reception.  Without Jaga she would have been wiped out in a nursing home.  So consider Grandma Sebastian as the cohostess of this feast along with Jaga.

         Give this couple, John & Naomi a lot of credit for flexibility, handling adversity, and bouncing with the punches..  They made plans for a big wedding and a honeymoon on the beach in Cancún, México.  So many relatives on both sides backed out that Naomi and John had to cancel the reception and fight to get their deposit back.  They had to cancel Cancún because the Medical School would not allow John to leave the country.  Such adversity and flexibility is great training for life. 

         Now that their day has come, I was asked to give my daughter away.  Are you kidding me?  No way!  I wouldn't give my duaghter away to anybody.  Anyhow, she's not mine to give.  Yes, John, I entrust Naomi to you.......I trust that you will gave yourself completely to her and she will reciprocate.  I trust that you would be willing to die for her.  I trust that you will always be faithful, you exclusively for her and she exclusively for you.  I trust that your Naomi and the family that the Lord gives you will always be number one in your life over career and avocations, even if you become a world renowned doctor and I think that's very possible.  You are very intelligent and a tremendously hard worker.  

          Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Family.  May the Holy Family be your model; may your home be a true domestic church with Jesus Christ at the center of your home with daily family prayer.  May your family culture revolve around our Lord and His Church, always faithful to God and to each other.  May your marriage be a witness in our divorce happy society as to what a Christian marriage should be.  May your family be a witness as to what a holy family should be, even in the face of ridicule.  When the inevitable bumps in the road come along, tap the graces of the beautiful sacrament of Matrimony.  Keep the faith and may the Lord richly bless your marriage and future family.   Amen!