The big news in the Trovato household is that Antonia, our eldest daughter, is getting married in the summer.
Her poor fiancé - let us call him Zachary, for obvious reasons - had to find me alone in order to ask my permission (though I later learned that in order to bolster his courage, Ant had said she would marry him even if I refused permission - the minx!) He caught me as I was laying a fire in the stove, so I was bent down with my face covered in ash, which was perhaps not the scene he had imagined.
Whilst we were not surprised at the fact of the engagement, the timing was a little earlier than we had envisaged. Had you asked me, I think I would have predicted my reaction as likely to be: 'OK, but a bit early…' But in fact that was not how I really reacted. I am truly delighted, as is Anna (the redoubtable Mrs T).
Zachary is naturally pleased that we are so positive, and also surprised as he thought we would not be so enthusiastic. In precisely the same way, Ant is surprised at how pleased Zachary's parents are (though of course, that is no surprise to us: we think he is doing very well…).
And it makes sense: they have been going out together for four years, and now they have finished University and are organising the rest of their lives. They found that they were both making plans around each other, and thought it was a bit silly to try to contrive to live within a few streets of each other, when what they really wanted was to be together.
Like any proposed marriage, it is not without its risk: the union of two fallen people in matrimony is always a challenge. In this case, it is complicated by the fact that Zachary is not a Catholic, or even a Christian.
Naturally, that has been a matter of some discussion between us and Ant, and much thought and prayer by Ant herself.
Moreover, I reflect that Anna was not Catholic (and only nominally Christian) when we married, so these things can work out.
Indeed, whilst my natural preference would be for all my daughters to marry wonderful Catholic men, I can also see there are risks in that too, in terms of broader evangelisation: we do not need to retreat into a ghetto.
Ant has clearly decided that her vocation is to seek both her sanctity and his in matrimony: and I believe she is old and wise enough to discern her path.
They are both young: but then so were we, and interestingly so were Zachary's parents when they got married having met at University (and they are still happily married too) so we are all fairly relaxed about that aspect (though Anna's mum, who married later in life, is not…)
Please remember them both in your prayers.
Carnival Time is Nearly Over.... - *...but not quite yet!* *Pray for Malta.*
1 hour ago