Darin and Molly prepare to say ‘I do’ on Saturday

GENESEO — Their journey to the altar started when Darin Ries asked Molly McKean to marry him through an ad in the pages of The Catholic Post and she said “yes.”

This Saturday, they will stand up in front of their friends and family at St. John the Baptist Church in Bradford and say, “I do.”

In keeping with their desire to focus on both sacraments that will be celebrated that day — the Eucharist and their marriage — the couple has chosen to be married at 4 p.m. and make the liturgy a vigil Mass for this Sunday, the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.

“The focus isn’t on us. The focus is on Christ,” Darin told The Catholic Post. “We’re not doing a lot of Hallmark-type things. We want to keep the focus on Christ, on the Eucharist and on the sacraments that are going to occur.”

The celebrant of the Mass will be Father John Thieryoung, a friend of the McKean family and pastor of St. Catherine’s in Aledo, St. Anthony’s in Matherville, St. John’s in Viola, and St. Mary’s in Keithsburg. Giving the homily and witnessing their vows, however, will be Darin’s father, Deacon Art Ries of St. Malachy’s Parish in Geneseo.

As they begin their new life together this weekend, Darin and Molly do so strengthened by the knowledge they gained through the Engaged Couple Encounter (ECE) they took as part of the marriage preparation process required by the Diocese of Peoria.

Engaged couples have the option of taking ECE, which is held over a weekend at King’s House in rural Henry, or at a one-day PreCana conference. While the vast majority of couples opt for the PreCana conference each year, Darin was insistent that he and Molly make the weekend encounter.

“This is a lifetime commitment. It’s not an easy thing, so why take the easy way out of preparation? Why not invest the time in having a healthy, happy, lasting relationship,” he told The Post.

Craig Dyke, associate director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family, said ECE helps couples prepare for that commitment by giving them tools for good communication and conflict resolution. At the same time, they receive an overview of church teaching to give them a solid foundation for their marriage.

“The goal is that their relationship will be strengthened and that their relationship with Christ and his church will be strengthened,” he said.

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