Local World Youth Day

Newlywed couple joins a million pilgrims on their honeymoon

Matt and Emily Sweet were married at All Saints Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, six weeks before kicking off their honeymoon at World Youth Day with Catholics from all over the world. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Jack Figge
Special to The Leaven

Matt Sweet planned to only be in the bathroom for a bit, but he still told his new bride Emily, “I love you,” before he went inside the crowded supermarket that was providing relief to the huge crowds of World Youth Day.

Six weeks ago, Emily and Matt were married at All Saints Parish in Kansas City, Kansas.

Before they even met, Matt knew that he wanted to attend World Youth Day 2023.

His good friend Doug Leikam, the youth minister at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park, invited Matt to attend. He extended that invitation to Emily once they started dating, but she declined the initial offer.       

“We decided that in order to have freedom in our relationship and not be feeling obliged to stay with each other because of World Youth Day that she would not come,” said Matt. “But then I proposed, we got married and she signed up.”

Matt and Emily Sweet listen as Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann delivers a homily during Mass in Fátima. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

After their engagement, they decided to turn World Youth Day into their honeymoon, along with a backpacking trip through Germany at the end of the event.

While not a typical honeymoon, it gave them a unique opportunity to grow as a young couple and recognize their priorities.         

“We want to live our life very intentionally in the church,” said Emily. “Seeing the universal church has expanded our eyes and our ears to what the church truly is.

“World Youth Day has given us strength and validity about how we want to raise our future children in the faith and has started us off on the right path.”

“It’s been special as newlyweds to slow down a little bit,” she continued. “It’s a very happy time to be newlyweds, and I think this pilgrimage has helped in returning back to that spirit of really loving Matthew as a person.”

Matt and Emily Sweet pause from the chaos of World Youth Day to share a hug. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Matt and Emily met through Young Adults of the Lamb, a community of laity that meets every Monday night with the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Lamb in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Sweets found that World Youth Day was the perfect opportunity to live out their mission as lay members of the Lamb.

“Pope Francis talked about how we are called by our names,” said Matt. “What I received from that message is this call to live my own name — Sweet — which means ‘meek.’

“Being in another country with a whole bunch of other people who have other needs and trying to take care of my wife and love her at the same time has brought so many opportunities to try to live this meekness and live like the Lamb.”

To view the full album of photos from World Youth Day, click here.

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Jack Figge

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