It was a sunny, warm day on April 11, 1964, when Robert Callanan married his “April Love,” Mary Joan Rybarsyk, at St. Isadore’s Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Coincidently the weather was also sunny and warm when they renewed their vows honoring their 50th wedding anniversary in that very same church on April 11, 2014.
The couple thought they would be alone for a special mass being said for them as they arrived an hour early to prepare and reminisce. Little did they know that their four children had flown in from both Texas and California to surprise them on this very special occasion and were hiding out in the rectory kitchen, plotting with the parish priest, Fr. Don, about how to unveil their arrival.
It was decided that they would walk past the unsuspecting couple by bringing the offertory gifts down the aisle to the altar. The gifts were laid upon a table positioned directly across from the pew where the Callanans sat. With the organist playing the beautiful hymn Blessed Are They, the procession began. It was an emotional moment and one that surely had the local parishioners questioning why the gift bearers were crying and hugging the equally tearful couple whom had just been blessed by Fr. Don. It did, however, answer the couples thoughts of why Fr. Don said to them after their blessing to not “have a heart attack” during the communion preparations!
The day proceeded with the family being together touring old neighborhoods, stopping to greet old friends and welcoming visiting relatives who joined the occasion. The night concluded atop the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, at the Cygnus 27 restaurant, overlooking a beautiful sunset over the Grand River and thecity where the family spent many happy years. The restaurant staff obliged in playing the couple’s song, Moon River, over the speaker system for a dance under the stars. It really was a moment in time to remember!
The Callanans moved to Dallas, Texas, in 1988 after years of living overseas and moving around the U.S.A. with the U.S.A.F. and civilian adventures. They are the BEST grandparents for 13 very lucky grandchildren and without a doubt the ONLY parents four grown “kids” could have ever been blessed with.
Happy Golden Anniversary from Bob, Anne, Michelle and Caroline!