Tag Archives: Our Lady Star of the Sea

Jude’s Dudes and more…..God’s Love

Jude’s Dudes and more…..God’s Love

The support we have seen from family, friends and even strangers is mind blowing! Sunday before surgery, the Jude’s Dudes group left The Players Championship final round to come to Mayo and show their support. We had 42 Dudes’ show up! Fr. Frank was making his daily visit to my hospital room when everyone showed up. He could not believe it! They wore their shirts on “pink out” day at the tournament to show support for our family. This truly touched our hearts.

Our support group Jude's Dudes....family and friends.

Our support group Jude’s Dudes….family and friends.

More information: http://www.pgatour.com/news/2014/05/11/Outside-the-ropes-players.html
From WWP: Thank you everyone for wearing your purple today to show your support for everyone who has been affected by Pancreatic Cancer. We hope that those who have personally been affected know that they have teammates who truly care and love them. Like Adam Silva, WWP

From WWP:
Thank you everyone for wearing your purple today to show your support for everyone who has been affected by Pancreatic Cancer. We hope that those who have personally been affected know that they have teammates who truly care and love them.
Adam Silva, WWP

WWP Director, Adam Silva stopped by our hospital room a few days post surgery to tell us WWP is showing it’s support by wearing their purple shirts each Friday. They also sent flowers and had a special bracelet made for me with charms for PC, WWP and Hope. Lindsay’s Marketing Team filled a clear jug with pieces of purple and silver paper with prayers and wishes to us as we endure this trial. We love our WWP family.

In October, 2013 I attended a life-changing retreat at our Church…Our Lady Star of the Sea. This weekend is called “Christ Renews His Parish” CHRP for short. We quickly formed a strong bond with the attendees and the sisters who put on the weekend. When they heard about my diagnosis they gathered the day of my surgery after morning mass to pray the rosary. It is wonderful to have a church family.

My Christ Renews His Parish Sisters from the October, 2013 Retreat. These girls

My Christ Renews His Parish Sisters from the October, 2013 Retreat. These girls

My Bible Study group organized a prayer vigil of about 30 girls. They all came together to pray the morning of my surgery. Some of my Bible Study girls have been meeting for over 15 years. I am thankful for each one of them. We pray each other up through every trial and blessing that befalls our sisters. They are Godly women who know the power of prayer. I know when we ask them to pray they are faithful. They are my “prayer warriors” and I love each and every one of them.

Many of my friends told me they lit a candle for me as they visited churches all over the world!

My sweet friend Kelly Winer lights a candle at beautiful Cathedral de San Juan

My sweet friend Kelly Winer lights a candle at beautiful Cathedral de San Juan

Many other friends, business associates and family prayed and asked their prayer warriors to pray as well. I know that God heard those prayers and answered them that day.

Family members dropped by the hospital.

My Grand Nephews, Tate, Isaiah and Mac popped in to visit Aunt Judi

My Grand Nephews, Tate, Isaiah and Mac popped in to visit Aunt Judi

My Grand-daughter Taylor graduated from Ponte Vedra High School while I was recovering in the hospital. I watched the graduation live from my daughter in laws cell phone. After the ceremony, Taylor came to the hospital to get her kiss from her Grandma! I was so happy to see her in her cap and gown and give her that big congratulatory hug and kiss.

Taylor's Graduation surprise

Taylor’s Graduation surprise

Once we came home from the hospital the love continued. Two of my friends planted bright and colorful flowers and huge balloons on the mailbox to greet me when I drove in.

Our family was not accustomed to being on the receiving end of this generosity of giving. Complete meals arrived each day. Through the help of my sweet daughter Lindsay, a “Caring Bridge” site was organized and meals were planned. It was amazing.

God showed me His love for me through each set of hands that prepared a meal, rubbed my feet with lotion, changed our bedsheets and ran the vacuum! All of these tasks done with love by my angel friends. Thank you all!

The ceremony

The ceremony

The white stretch limo pulled up under the portico of our Catholic church, Our Lady Star of the Sea. We have attended this church since we moved to Ponte Vedra in 1993. Lindsay and Louis had taken their CCD classes here, and now our grandchildren. We have celebrated every holiday and feast at this church. One Christmas in particular I recall the alter servers wore their brand new red robes. Louis held the cross and Lindsay followed behind as they both served on that Christmas Eve. That year we had family from Cleveland, so we had a complete pew filled with Zitiello’s. It is our church home. I cannot imagine spending holidays anywhere else.

When Matthew and Lindsay decided to marry we were hopeful they would want the ceremony to be held at OLSS. The Garrity family also belongs to the parish family. So we were all very pleased when the decision was positive. Fr. Remek Blaszkowski would be the officiant, a young priest with a thick Czech accent, whom we had all fallen in love with. Tom called him the “rock star”. He always kept us enthralled with his up to the moment homilies. We knew they would also love this no nonsense guy with a passion for his faith. Both families couldn’t be happier.

The bridesmaids, the bride and myself sat anxiously in the limo as we watched thru the tinted black windows as guests passed by arriving at the church a little late and rushing in to find their seats. In just a few moments we would enter the church. The bride is always the last to enter, so Lindsay and I stayed behind after the maids made their way inside. I told Lindsay how much her Dad and I love her and how happy we are for her. We were thrilled with her choice in Matt. I held her hand and asked her if she was nervous. She said she wasn’t but was excited and couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle. Suddenly the door opened. Fr. Remek stuck his head into the limo and looked Lindsay straight in the eye as he asked, “What is your final answer Lindsay? Are you ready to marry Matthew?” “Yes” she said “I am ready to marry Matt.” “Let’s go then” he said as he held out his hand to help us, bouquets in hand, exit the limo. He rushed us into the small dressing room where the priests don their vestments for mass and quickly closed the door.

The church was filled with family and friends waiting in anticipation as they sat listening to family friend Chuck Kessler, accompanied by his son Michael, strum his guitar and sing beautiful songs hand picked by Lindsay and Matthew.

The tiny room held a triple mirror, a closet where the priests vestments were stored and a small bathroom. Lindsay twirled and took one last look at herself in the mirror when there was a knock at the door. I knew it had to be her Father. I opened the door a crack as he pushed the door open and slipped into the room with us. “Honey, you are not supposed to be in here.” I said. “Dad” Lindsay said, “I don’t want to ruin my makeup.” “I know” he said, “but I needed to get this ……over…..before….we walk down the aisle.” He stuttered as he took in his daughter-bride in the gown he had not seen until this moment. He turned around fully as he gasped for air. “I want to tell you both how much I love you. Judi… for giving me Lindsay. You are the most important women in my life.” He wiped his tears as there was another knock at the door.

“The Mother of the Bride” needs to get in line now”, the church lady was pleading. I left the room and took my place at the front of the processional with my handsome son Louis who would escort me up the aisle. It was beginning. I had been reminded, the Mother-of-the-Bride controls the ceremony. The music changed to my favorite song,”I Give You My Heart”. Chucks’ voice was sweet and folkish. We were the first to make the slow long walk toward the altar. He walked me to the second pew. Next came the Mother-of-the Groom, Phyllis Garrity on the arm of her Husband-Best Man, Jack. She was seated across the aisle from me. She glanced a smile my way and we stood and approached the altar where we lit the unity candles, two candles representing the two families with one large candle in the center. When the candles had been lit we squeezed each others hand and descended the few steps back to our seats.

Judi and Phyllis light their unity candles

Now it was time for the processional hymn “This is the Day”. Matthew, the Bridegroom and his Father-Best Man were next. Matthew looked so handsome, his tall stature and his tight black curls. On his black lapel was an orchid boutineer, a small dove feather tucked in. They slowly approached the altar and took their places turning to watch the processional and then the Bride and her Father. The moment he had waited for was fast approaching.

The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen were next in their beautiful Vera Wang yellow-gold flowing gowns and classic black tuxes, everyone smiling as the excitement was building. I had honestly never seen such a beautiful collection of friends. They approached the altar, lowered their heads as they reached the first step, the maids lined up to the left the groomsmen to the right. The witnesses were in place.

Next came the priest in his beautiful cream colored robe with an embellished green vestment draped over his shoulders. He took his place at the center of the altar near Matthew.

Matthew’s niece, darling 3 1/2 year old MaryBeth was chosen as the flower girl with Tommy and Mitchell as ring bearers. The children made their way down the aisle. MaryBeth was coaxed down by adult cousin, beautiful Kelly Sherrod. They took their places in the front pews next to their families curious about what was going to happen next.

The altar was complete with the exception of one.

The music changed to “Canon in D” as Fr. Remek motioned for everyone to stand. And suddenly she appeared on the arm of her proud Father, more beautiful then ever and smiling. Tom held her hand on his arm as he guided his only precious daughter to her love waiting at the altar. She was a picture perfect bride in her Augusta Jones creamy lace dress with a long satin bow at her waist and the long lace train trailing behind. She wore no veil on her low soft bun just a beautiful creamy flower to one side. On her wrist was her “something borrowed”, my pearl bracelet. She was stunning.

Words cannot express the emotion of this moment in time.

Matthew did not take his eyes away off of her from the moment she entered the church. He later told me he couldn’t believe she was really his.

The guests were seated and a full Catholic mass began. The Brides oldest brother Scott and the Grooms sisters, Jacqueline and Amy read the scriptures specially selected by Lindsay and Matthew. Both families were well represented in the sacred sacrament of holy matrimony.

When Fr. Remek began his homily he held everyones attention. Lindsay and Matthew had met with Fr. Remek to prepare for their marriage for eight months. So, with personal knowledge he spoke from his heart. He told Lindsay that she showed her trust in Matthew when he blindfolded her and took her for a car ride last November. And, when he placed her in the stunt plane and sent her up in the air with only a pilot and her parachute. He asked her thru her headphones if she wanted to take another wild ride with him, when he asked her to marry him.
Fr. Remek told the Bride and Groom and the assembled guests that they were embarking on a true adventure and that trust in each other and trust in God would be the foundation they should build their family on. It was a wonderful homily enjoyed by everyone.

The vows were spoken and the rings blessed and exchanged. Matthew and Lindsay lit the large candle with the two side candles lit by their Mothers and they became one in God’s eyes. The mass continued with the sacred solemnity it always holds. The couple turned from the priest toward the assembly and were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Garrity. We all cheered and clapped our hands. Chuck began to loudly strum and sing Third Days’ “I’ve Always Loved You”. Then, Matthew, with his hand at his brides back, led his Wife-Bride down the steps and down the aisle, past family and friends both of them bursting with happiness.

They were officially married.

Let the party begin.