September 22, 2023

A time of defending the Blessed Mother leads to a renewed faith and a marriage

Moses and Kate Tinio pose in front of a shrine at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. Our Lady of Fatima has played a special part in their lives, their engagement and their marriage. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

Moses and Kate Tinio pose in front of a shrine at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. Our Lady of Fatima has played a special part in their lives, their engagement and their marriage. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

One in a continuing series

(Editor’s note: In this series, The Criterion is featuring young adults who have found a home in the Church and strive to live their faith in their everyday life.)

By John Shaughnessy

Maybe they would have found each other and fallen in love anyway.

And maybe Moses and Kate Tinio still would have married, honeymooned in Rome and had their marriage blessed in person by Pope Francis.

Yet as 24-year-old Kate tells the story, everything is connected to a defining moment in her faith journey—the time she boldly stood up in defense of the Blessed Mother.

The moment took place in high school. She had grown up Catholic, but she thought her parish church wasn’t vibrant in sharing and living the faith. So when she was on a sleepover and a friend invited Kate to a Christian church the next morning, Kate went and was drawn to the upbeat music, the minister’s resonating message and the “on-fire” faith of its members. It seemed like the perfect place for her until a conversation with some of her friends focused on the Blessed Mother.

“They were like, ‘Yeah, look at what God did with Jesus’ mother,’ ” she recalls. “I had grown up with the Immaculate Conception, and I was like, ‘What are you guys talking about?’ They said, ‘She was a sinner just like us.’ It felt like a train hit me. Everything in my body said, ‘You know that’s not true, and you know you’re not vocalizing it.’ A couple moments went by where I was very silent and they were saying, ‘If God can literally come to Earth within this sinner’ … and I just said, ‘No, she wasn’t a sinner.’

“After that, I really started digging deep into my faith. And through that, I actually stumbled back into Catholicism.”

It all led her to a deeper devotion in college to the Blessed Mother—especially to Our Lady of Fatima. And that devotion, she believes, eventually led her to a surprising and life-changing introduction to Moses Tinio, an outgoing young adult in Indianapolis determined to bring the joy of the Catholic faith to other young adults in the archdiocese.

‘Wouldn’t that be great?!’

When Kate moved to Indianapolis in 2021, most people were just starting to emerge from the isolation and quarantining caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She had learned about an upcoming social event of young adult Catholics at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, yet she was tentative about entering a situation where she didn’t know anyone. So she prayed a novena to Our Lady of Fatima, asking her to be with her when the evening of the event arrived.

“That Sunday, I was sitting up in the choir loft, and I was talking to a girl I had never seen,” Kate recalls. “She had just had a baby, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, how did you meet your husband?’ She said, ‘Right here in the parking lot at St. John’s.’ I laughed and said, ‘Oh my gosh, wouldn’t that be great?!’ And then little did I know I would meet Moses an hour later.”

Now 28, Moses made his Catholic faith the focus of his life several years ago after a breakup in a romantic relationship with a young woman. He felt he had put more emphasis into the “temporal joy” of that relationship instead of “the eternal joy I had at my fingertips.”

“I didn’t want other people to not have this experience of this Christ-like love that we can all have—this friendship that happens within a deeper circle of individuals,” he says. “I wanted to offer that to people. I wanted to give back.

“When I first moved here, I came from a very strong evangelization ministry at the University of Kansas. I was already very vested in how to preach the Gospel and explain my testimony.”

Living in Indianapolis, he has formed a flag football league, taught lessons in partner dancing and hosted small and large social events, all with the focus of getting young adults together, making friendships and starting in-depth conversations about their lives and their faith.

The outcome has led to close friendships, deeper relationships with Christ and even some marriages, including his and Kate’s.

“The day after the novena ended, I met Moses at an event taking place not even 200 feet from the spot where we would get married,” Kate says about her prayers to Our Lady of Fatima.

“I don’t believe that novenas are some sort of a ‘fix it quick’ solution to any issue of discernment or decision making, but [Mary] obviously had my attention at that point. Over the course of our relationship, and even the few weeks leading up to him finally asking me on a date, she was there. She would always appear without fail as a part of a homily or as an image we’d encounter.”

So Moses made sure that Our Lady of Fatima was part of his marriage proposal to Kate last November.

‘That was the moment I really cried’

In preparing for the proposal, Moses ordered a statue of Our Lady of Fatima from Fatima, Portugal. It’s the setting where the Blessed Mother first appeared to three shepherd children—Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia—on May 13, 1917.

Entrusting the statue to a friend, Moses proposed to Kate on homecoming weekend at DePauw University in Greencastle where Kate had graduated in 2021. He also had asked Father John Hollowell, then the Catholic chaplain at DePauw, to reserve the chapel of the college’s Newman Center so that he and Kate could share in eucharistic adoration there, following the proposal. The couple arrived there with huge smiles from Kate saying yes.

As the couple prayed together with friends for the next hour, the friend who had been entrusted with the statue placed it at the back of the chapel. When their holy hour ended and Kate saw the statue for the first time, she was overwhelmed with emotion.

“That was the moment when I really cried,” she recalls. “When he got down on one knee to propose, I was too excited to cry. Then we prayed that holy hour together and I saw that statue and it hit me. I saw how much detail went into everything. We had a lot of encounters with Our Lady of Fatima together. When I saw the statue, my heart almost stopped.”

Six months and a day later, Moses and Kate were married in St. John the Evangelist Church on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

That day, Kate wore a necklace showing the image of Our Lady of Fatima. Prayer cards for the wedding featured the Blessed Mother. And the couple’s devotion to her was the focus of Father Vincent Gilmore’s homily of their wedding Mass. Moses and Kate had also requested that a Litany of Saints be the offertory hymn of the Mass, with the first mention being of Our Lady of Fatima.

“That was actually my favorite part of the entire wedding—of finally having our souls combined,” Moses says. “Just imagining everybody praying for us and interceding for us.”

Moses especially felt the prayers, the intercession and the presence of one special person that day.

‘Just remember that you are a gift’

His mother Amelia had died the day after Mother’s Day of 2022—and his marriage to Kate was almost a year to the day later. The couple’s choice of a honeymoon in Rome was partly a tribute to their shared faith and partly a reflection of his mom’s lifetime dream.

“My mom always wanted to go to Rome,” he says, one of her five sons. “All of my brothers were going to try to pitch in so that we could have her go there, but then she got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and she started getting worse and worse. Because she wasn’t able to go physically, we thought. ‘Why don’t we actually have it be a part of what we want for our honeymoon?’

“So that was beautiful, like she had a front row seat for everything. Instead of going to a beach or wherever, we wanted to make it a pilgrimage, to go to as many churches as we could and let that be a part of our trip. My mother would have loved to be there physically and at the wedding itself.”

During their pilgrimage to the churches and basilicas of Rome, they prayed for his mom. They were also repeatedly amazed at all the statues of Our Lady of Fatima that they saw at nearly every turn, both inside the churches and in the streets and stores of the city.

“I was like, ‘OK. Mom! I know you’re on our honeymoon with us!’ ” Kate says with a laugh about the Blessed Mother. “And then there was the meeting with the pope.”

As part of a celebration of recent marriages of couples from around the world, Moses and Kate were at the very end of a long line of people waiting to have their unions blessed by Pope Francis.

“I wore a traditional Filipino dress because Moses is Filipino,” Kate says. “The pope blessed my Fatima necklace that I wore for the wedding.”

Both Moses and Kate smile as she recalls that moment. Their faces reflect a similar joy as they share how their Catholic faith is the foundation of their marriage and their lives—and how it can make the same impact on young adults seeking meaning and purpose in their lives.

“Say yes, just like Mary said to the angel—to have the Lord Jesus be birthed from her,” Moses advises. “Say yes to whatever you may be invited to. Say yes to being vulnerable. Say yes to going and talking with somebody. And don’t be afraid of what can happen based on your vulnerability, but what you both can share. Put yourself out there. And when you get the opportunity, also invite others because our Church can only grow when we invite people who may not know Christ.”

Kate knows the power of saying yes to the Blessed Mother and her Son. She also knows the possibilities that come from making yourself vulnerable and open to others.

“My grandfather always said, ‘Good things aren’t always easy, and easy things aren’t always good,’ ” she says. “He would always remind us that good things take work, good things take time. In an age where I order something off Amazon and it gets to my house in a short time, a lot of things are easy.

“It’s not as easy to be intentional with people and to go deeper. But your faith is the one place in your life that always requires that of yourself. And just remember that you are a gift, and the Lord wants you and he’s waiting for you.” †

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