How did you guys meet?
Bobby: Once upon a time, in the Pennsylvania Amish countryside, there lay a retreat center named Black Rock. It was there that the Theology of the Body Institute (http://www.tobinstitute.org/) offered several immersion courses for the teachings of Blessed John Paul II’s vision of divine love and human sexuality. It was there, in January of 2011, that I met a beautiful, goofy, fair maiden named Jaclyn. The only minor, teensy problem was that at the time I was in seminary…discerning the Catholic priesthood.
Jackie: In my fair maidenhood, I searched far and wide for my prince charming. Instead, I found a troll named Bobby Angel. Well, he was a troll in the morning hours before the coffee seeped into his blood stream. Then, he became a prince. The first week I met him, I remembered his handsome face and his ugly shoes. He was a goofy, prayerful, ruggedly handsome man. As any good Catholic girl would, I wept for the fact that he was becoming a priest. Okay, not really, but I wasn’t going to be a “chalice chipper.” Ain’t nobody got time for ’dat!
Bobby: Ok, so I did have ugly shoes. But she saw through my shoes and troll-like ways. Crushing on each other, we never stated our feelings, respecting the situation and discernment process, but stayed in contact as friends. In my own spiritual journey, I felt that God used the years of priestly discernment to form my head and heart to be the man He needed me to be. Though I felt like I could be a good priest, I sensed that God was leading me elsewhere, not knowing when or how it would happen…
Jackie: As a speaker and worship leader, I had been speaking to a lot of young girls about praying for their future husbands and never settling for a man who didn’t lead them to heaven. In July 2009, I started a journal for my future husband, consecrating him to Mary, and praying for him monthly. Mother Teresa said to be specific when you pray, so I wrote 3 pages of exactly what I wanted in a future husband, listing things such as “Passionately Catholic,” “loves scripture,” “ruggedly handsome,” “loves Theology of the Body & NFP,” and “likes ‘The Office.”” For some reason, the first six months of 2012, I felt the urge to offer my future husband up at daily Mass. In May of 2012, I had 2 pages left in my journal. Either my future husband was coming soon, or I’d have to start a new journal. So, I decided to do a 54-day rosary novena for my future husband (27 days in petition and 27 days in thanksgiving whether or not I got what I wanted). I thought ending the novena on August 15th would be a great idea, since it was the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thus, the novena began Saturday, June 23rd…
Bobby: We returned to the Black Rock retreat center on June 24th for a course on the philosophy of John Paul II taught by Dr. Peter Kreeft. Jackie was the first person I saw when I got off the plane, and we were pretty much inseparable for the remainder of the course. It took all of a day and a half for us to realize that something deep and profound was attracting us to each other. I had no idea she was praying a rosary novena for her future spouse at the time, but in each moment of prayer with her I somehow just knew that this was the person I was being prepared for all along. I was still technically a seminarian, but I was given such clarity and peace during this week with Jackie that I knew this was the sign I had asked God for. After that course, and much discussion with my spiritual director, family, and friends, I formally left seminary on August 1st. On the feast of the Assumption, August 15th, the last day of Jackie’s novena (and after only one “formal” date) I bought the engagement ring.
How did he propose?
Bobby: So I bought the ring on August 15th, but I personally vowed to wait until closer to December so that we had a somewhat “proper” timeframe (even though I knew she was “the one” back in June). It was tough…every jewelry shop we would walk by, Jackie would squeeze my hand or make some comment that I had to just play dumb about for months. My brother used to work at Sea World, so I thought about assembling a team of dolphins that would spit out confetti right when the sun was setting, and a penguin would walk up with the ring in its flipper. It would have been great, but penguins are notorious divas.
Jackie: After one official date in August, Bobby asked for my ring size (I mean, c’mon, we both knew we had found “the one” back in June). I didn’t think he was going to buy the ring anytime soon, but in September I was away doing ministry and texted him, “You know, I also like sapphires. They’re cheaper than diamonds. Too bad you don’t have a diamond in your family.” He texted me back, “Hey lady, don’t you worry. You gave me your requirements weeks ago.” At that moment, I had a feeling he had already bought the ring, and then because I’m a girl, imagined every possible way he could propose, including dolphins spouting out confetti during a sunset.
Bobby: With the dolphin plan falling through, “Plan B” was to propose to her in the context of the play ‘A Christmas Carol’ that Servite high school presents. Jackie has been a part of the play for years now as Emily, young Scrooge’s love interest. I figured I could play Scrooge and in the scene where he proposes to her, I would make it a real proposal. The problem was that it wasn’t a play, but a MUSICAL, and, well, I can’t sing. The Lord can do all things, but getting my bullfrog voice ready for a tenor solo in 3 months…not so much. I took it to prayer and figured that God wasn’t calling me to propose within the play. I happily resigned myself to the character of ‘Old Joe,’ the garbage collector who wanders around on stage muttering “rags and bones.”
Jackie: As I kept waiting for a proposal, thinking, “maybe he’ll become young Scrooge in the play and propose during a rehearsal,” Bobby kept fake proposing. Every once in a while he would drop to one knee, pause, and then say, “Oh look! A quarter!” Then fairly often he would ask, “If I asked you right now, what would you say?” I would reply, “Of course I would say, ‘Yes!’” Then he would joke, “So… you DO want pepperoni on your pizza.” Ugh…
Bobby: We won tickets to Mumford & Sons via a radio contest. They sold out two shows at the Hollywood Bowl, so the fact that we won tickets was providential. We both have an affinity for their song “I Will Wait.” She’s used it as an example of Christian patience and chastity in her talks to teens, and the lyrics personally speak to me, particularly the forgiveness of one’s faults and mistakes. When the band played this song (2nd in the set list, it caught me off guard), I waited until the later half before I held her hand with the ring box between our fingers. She gave me a look, puzzled but then instantly realizing what it as.
Jackie: I was in Miami a few days before the Mumford & Sons concert. I told Bobby’s brother, Dan, that I had a feeling Bobby would either propose during “I Will Wait” at the M&S concert or on December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception and renewer consecration date) after the musical. Dan said nothing and kept drinking his coffee. On the actual day of the concert, though, I really did not even think Bobby would propose. For goodness sakes, we went to IHOP for breakfast. He wasn’t buttering me up at all or preparing me to think a proposal was near. The thought didn’t really even cross my mind the whole day. Even at the concert when Bobby asked me 3 times (between every band) if I needed to go the bathroom, I still didn’t think there was a sneaky reason behind it. I found out later that he was trying to ask the girl next to him to take pictures of us.
Finally, when “I Will Wait” came on, we both were so excited. We were holding hands with a hand warmer in between them and suddenly Bobby withdrew his hand from mine and put it back together with something else in between us. He squeezed my hand and looked me in the eye saying, “If I asked you right now, what would you say?” I kept saying, “Are you serious? Are you kidding me?” He then showed me the ring and got on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said, “Yes” (else you wouldn’t be reading this on our wedding website!)
Bobby: “And I’ll kneel down, wait for now. I’ll kneel down, know my ground.” At these lyrics, I knelt down and asked Jackie Francois to marry me. Thanks be to God, she said yes, and the crowd around us celebrated as Mumford closed the song.
Best. Concert. Ever.
Jackie: When the concert was over (which was a huge blur), I asked Bobby all the questions: “When and how did you ask my dad? When did you buy the ring? Who should I call first?” We got to the car and sitting on the seat was the letter Bobby wrote to my dad to ask for my hand in marriage. It was hilariously awesome. Then I found out he bought the ring on August 15th, which was the 54th day of my rosary novena for my future spouse. The diamond? His great grandmother’s. Who should I tell first? Well, my close friends who were all waiting at my parent’s house the next day that Bobby invited for dinner, of course!
God is good!