Rome, Italy, Sep 12, 2014 / 15:46 pm
An Italian couple to be married over the weekend by Pope Francis say they could not wish for anything more than to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony from the pontiff who has influenced their lives so greatly.
"Getting married by Pope Francis and marrying the man of my life is the apex of everything I could want," said Laura Carpuso, a Catholic woman in the Diocese of Rome who will tie the knot with fiancé Marco Purcaro in a Sept. 14 ceremony celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica.
Laura, who is 34, works as an event organizer, while Marco, 32, is a former professional dancer. Their journey to marriage has always been linked to Pope Francis, they explained.
"I say it all the time, Pope Francis has taught me many things, especially what he kept repeating about marriage: 'Dear couples, even though the plates may fly, don't go to bed without making peace,' and the words 'please, thank you and sorry,' which have become a daily part of our life," Laura told CNA in an interview in Rome on Sept. 11.
"When we argue, Marco always repeats those words and we find a solution," she said.
The two met Pope Francis on Feb. 14, when the pontiff greeted thousands of engaged couples in St. Peter's Square for a special St. Valentine's Day address.
"Since then the Pope entered my life and now he is our guide and a very important person to us," Laura said.
For his part, Marco told CNA that Pope Francis "is a symbol for us and everything he says and does is an example for us to follow in our faith and life journey. He is not only a Pope, he is a father."
"When we are old we will tell our grandchildren that Pope Francis married us at St. Peter's Basilica."
The couple's story began with spiritual emptiness and the search for God. As a dancer, Marco toured the world, but felt the need to change his life and sought peace by going on pilgrimages. It was then that he met Laura at a wedding reception. She was a non-practicing Christian and returned to the Catholic Church thanks to Marco.
"The last thing I was expecting was to find someone to share my life with, and now we have been together for a year and a half and we are going to get married," he reflected.
The two say they were blessed by God from the beginning and their story has always been providential.
"Soon after meeting her, I asked her out, and a week later we were already formally dating as a couple, and after three months we began seriously thinking about marriage," Marco explained.
The future spouses received marriage preparation and planned to marry at their parish on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis, but one day their pastor, Fr. Francesco, told them he had a surprise: a letter had come from the Vatican with an invitation to take part in a marriage ceremony as one of 20 couples the Pope would marry.
"We sent in the request and two weeks later the answer was yes. When we found out, we were so excited we couldn't sleep for two days. For us this will be the consecration of our lives to God and the blessing of our union."
The 20 couples have been rehearsing for the ceremony this week. They will enter the basilica accompanied by their sponsors and will form a semi-circle around the altar.
"My mother is very excited and can't believe the day is coming. Everyone is very happy. Our parents are also Catholic and so this day will be very special for them too," Laura said.
The Vicar General for Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, along with the 20 pastors of the parishes each couple attends, will concelebrate with Pope Francis.