Proposal comes in adoration chapel at Curé of Ars Church
by Kara Hansen
GARDNER — When Jeremy Heinen bought an engagement ring five years ago, he thought about where he could propose to his then-girlfriend, Loretta.
Jeremy wanted a proposal site that was both familiar and special to the couple; he wanted it to have meaning and significance.
Most of all, Jeremy wanted a place that set the tone for the couple’s future relationship. There was only one perfect spot: the eucharistic adoration chapel at his parish.
“I honestly couldn’t think of any place more appropriate or any place better to start the rest of our lives,” said Jeremy. “I wanted God to be a part of it from the very beginning, and proposing in the real presence of the Lord seemed very fitting.”
Jeremy and Loretta had begun dating shortly after returning home from World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002, where the couple had been introduced by a mutual friend.
“I think we had both previously dated non-Catholics who were perfectly nice people, but we had each felt something was missing,” said Loretta. “I had decided in college that my Catholic faith was not something I was willing to compromise on, and I think, for each of us, it was the centerpiece of what we wanted in a relationship.”
Jeremy and Loretta lived in different cities while dating, so the two often ended up spending much of their dating time together in the adoration chapel at Curé of Ars Church in Leawood, where Jeremy worked at the time. They came to rely on eucharistic adoration as a source of strength and direction.
“We relied heavily on that time for God to guide us as we went through a great deal of discernment,” said Loretta. “The adoration chapel really became a place that felt like our home.”
“Adoration played a big role in our relationship,” he said. “It was a place where we really felt drawn to be with the Lord, to really listen to him and seek his blessing in our relationship, too.”
The couple had previously arranged to spend Valentine’s Day together in 2004 and agreed that spending some time in prayer in the adoration chapel at Curé of Ars would be a great way to begin their day together. It was also the opportunity Jeremy was looking for to propose.
Of course, Jeremy, who was the youth minister at Curé at the time, had a few logistics to work out in planning a proposal at the chapel there. The adoration chapel was open for parishioners perpetually, 24 hours a day.
“I arranged for a teen from youth group to be there and to sort of ‘stand guard’ outside to politely let anyone who wanted to come inside know what was going on,” said Jeremy. “I didn’t want to hold anyone away from their time with the Lord, but I hoped, at least, that proposing wouldn’t take too long.”
Loretta, unaware anything was going on, knelt in prayer, and the two prayed individually for awhile.
“Then Jeremy turned to me and said he had been thinking for awhile [that] we should do a novena together, and he asked if I wanted to do one to Our Lady of Perpetual Help,” said Loretta.
She agreed, and Jeremy handed her a small tri-fold paper with the novena on it. When Loretta opened it, there was a small slip of paper on which were written the words, “Will you marry me?”
Surprised, Loretta at first thought Jeremy was joking with her — until he got down on one knee.
“He professed his love for me and said he wanted us to spend the rest of our lives together,” said Loretta. “I was amazed. It was perfect.”
After Loretta said “yes”, the couple continued to make adoration a regular part of their spiritual lives together — during their engagement and after they were married later in 2004. Now with a small toddler at home — Charlie, who is 21 months old — quiet, uninterrupted time in adoration can be a little harder to come by.
“Our time in prayer looks a little different now that we have a child, but I think the focus is still the same,” said Loretta. “We want to put the Lord at the center of our life and make him the foundation of our family.”