Louis Pieretti places a wedding ring on the finger of Via Watson during their wedding, Dec. 12, at Harrogate Retirement Community, Lakewood. Father Robert D’Imperio from the Diocese of Camden presided. Courtesy photo.
Louis Pieretti places a wedding ring on the finger of Via Watson during their wedding, Dec. 12, at Harrogate Retirement Community, Lakewood. Father Robert D’Imperio from the Diocese of Camden presided. Courtesy photo.
" Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be doing this! " Josette Peterson marriage coordinator, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood
Josette Peterson has helped many couples prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony in her role as marriage coordinator in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood. However, planning the recent nuptials of her good friend, Via Watson, was not something she saw coming.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be doing this,” she said of coordinating this unexpected wedding ceremony and reception.

Via Watson, 86, and Louis Pieretti, 94, were married Dec. 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the Harrogate Retirement Community, Lakewood.

Both Watson and Pieretti, parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood, lost their spouses years ago, and became friendly at Harrogate, attending Mass weekly together.

“They were friends for many years, and they fell in love. He had asked her to marry him a couple of times.  She loved him, but she wasn’t sure at their age if they should get married.  But, of course, she said yes,” Peterson shared.

Since their wedding day fell on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, their pastor, Divine Word Father Guilherme Andrino, was unavailable to administer the Sacrament, as parish celebrations had already been planned.

The couple were married by Father Robert D’Imperio, parochial vicar of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, Carney’s Point, in the Diocese of Camden. Father D’Imperio’s mother is also a resident at Harrogate, where the priest celebrates Mass for the Catholic community weekly.

“It was lovely. Their children and grandchildren were able to attend and there was a reception after to celebrate,” Peterson said.

While this wasn’t the first wedding for the couple, the “wedding day jitters” were still felt by Via as she reflected on the excitement and sanctity of the day.

“She told me she was a little nervous, as any bride would be.  But she was so happy, too,” acknowledged Peterson, who expressed her gratitude for being part of their special day. “We’ve been friends for many years.  They are both such good people and I am just thrilled that I was able to do this for them,” she said.