The following is the testimony of Caro Yañez about getting a difficult annulment so her second marriage could be blessed:
I met my husband, Felix, in April 2010, and we married in a civil ceremony in July 2011. He is my first and only husband. I became his second wife. Our road to happiness wasn’t going to be easy, because his first marriage had been by God’s laws. But we didn’t want to wait. I was already 40-something, and I knew for sure what I wanted. I felt there was no time to lose.
During our first married year, we thought that we had started the annulment of his Catholic marriage in Mexico. But the information that was requested of my husband was not right, and his file was just stacked on a priest’s desk. One year later, we still had no further notice about it: it was a sort of cold case.
So we started again, now in the United States, our new country of residence.
When we saw all the requirements (questionnaire, witnesses and all that kind of stressful information), my husband felt fearful and discouraged; it’s not something simple to touch a man’s wounds.
A year passed and I keep praying and asking God and our holy Mother Mary to touch my husband’s heart with love and compassion, to heal his wounds, and to prepare him to talk about his first marriage without pain.
Felix is a believer and devotee of Guadalupe’s Virgin. Nevertheless, he called himself a “regular Catholic”, meaning that he practiced his faith by going to Sunday Mass and nothing more. I, however, really knew what I was missing by not having a valid marriage. My heart shrank. Every Sunday Mass during communion, I cried inside — and sometimes it rained on my face, too. I felt a deep sadness and anguish in the face of uncertainty, but at the same time, something told me that God loved me and he was merciful and would not keep us from his blessing in the Sacrament of Marriage.
During all this process, my parents played a very important role. Each time we visited them, my mother would ask when we are going to get married by God’s laws (Mexican moms worry all the time!), and each time my heart would feel the pain and the pressure that comes with this kind of tribulation.
In one of those visits to my parent’s house, I asked them for a private conversation to tell them about the annulment process: that it wasn’t going to be easy, that we’d have to touch the wounds of my husband, that we’d have to get witnesses who seemed to be nowhere, that it was going to be a long and difficult road full of emotional and spiritual stress and challenges.
I tried to tell them that clearly (with tears) to give my mom less anxiety and more peace. Then, my father, a man of few words but a lot of faith, when he saw my sadness told me: “Carolina, if it’s God’s will, he has his time and his moment. Don’t rush him. Let God be God. Who’s rushed you?” I was wordless, but very peaceful and quiet.
When we got back to our home in the United States, my husband and I started the annulment process again. Little by little, he opened his heart and started to tell his story. I heard him with my heart and wrote it as God’s instrument and comforted him. We finished the questionnaire and delivered it to the diocesan lawyer.
We continued to search for the witnesses. My husband contacted a friend whom he has not seen in more than 20 years. That friend was now a server in his church. When they talked, the friend explained to Felix the importance of having God’s Church blessing and thus be able to receive communion. (I had tried to explain this to him without success: God has his own instruments and mysterious ways.)
After they hung up, Felix told me: “Mija, now I know how bad you were feeling all this time, not being able to receive communion in Sunday Mass. But now I get it”. I almost cried with joy. Now we were on the same track and we would get done whatever was needed to achieve our goal.
Our goal: That the Lord build our home, otherwise we will work in vain.
During all this time, more than 3 years, our Mother Mary and the Rosary, sacrifices and offerings were present — and still are — in our family life.
In September 2017, the long-awaited Phoenix Diocese certified religious marriage annulment opinion arrived. Six months later, the day of the Lord’s Epiphany, we married in Mexico by God’s laws. My dear friend and priest Pepe (his Excellence, as he is now a Bishop) presided over the Eucharistic celebration.
My husband and I share the same thoughts: After our religious marriage, we feel our hearts and spirit fulfilled, as if our little hearts (jars) were filled with love, joy and peace.
- What is our story that shows how important the Sacrament of Marriage is to us?
- What obstacles do we need to face and overcome to make our marriage holier? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish this?
Strengthen your relationship:
Describe to each other what the Sacrament of Marriage means to you. Why is it worthwhile? What blessings come from being married in the Church? Pray together, thanking God for the love he has given you as a couple, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in persevering through every obstacle that needs to be overcome.
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© 2018 by Caro Yañez with Terry Modica of Good News Ministries