Just Married

September 13, 1998|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Michelle Lizardo and Paul Kuntz firmly believe in God's plan for each life. His plan for them, they say, was for them to find one another and make a life together.

Yet they really put their guardian angels through a workout when came to implementing the plan.

Michelle and Paul were both born on March 11, 1975. Paul came into this world first, at 10:05 a.m. at a hospital in Rochester, N.Y. About 400 miles away and 28 minutes later, at 10:33 a.m., in Paterson, N.J., Eddie and Tita Lizardo welcomed their only daughter, Michelle.

Paul grew up in upstate New York while Michelle and her family eventually moved from New Jersey to Maryland. There seemed to be no reason for their paths ever to cross.

In 1992, however, both Paul and Michelle applied for an honors scholarship at the University of Delaware. They sat in the same examination hall, about a row apart. "I'm pretty sure I probably talked to Paul that day," says Michelle, who works for the credit-card firm MBNA America in Wilmington, Del.

But as their angels worked feverishly to bring them together, Paul and Michelle unknowingly thwarted the plan. Both were admitted into the honors program and both declared chemistry as their likely major. "I'm sure we would've met there," says Paul, a chemical engineer who is employed by DAP Inc. in Canton.

But Michelle decided instead to go to the College of Notre Dame of Maryland on a full scholarship. Paul also turned down the Delaware scholarship, opting to attend the Johns Hopkins University instead.

Now that Paul and Michelle were living and attending school just about a mile from each other, it seemed an easy enough job for their angels to bring them together. But they had to work at it for several more years.

Opportunity finally presented itself in March 1996, when Paul's fraternity volunteered to handle security for a concert Michelle // helped organize at Notre Dame. Ironically, at the last minute, both Paul and Michelle had to be talked into attending.

The couple met when a friend of Michelle's literally walked smack into Paul. The friend, who already knew Paul, introduced the couple and left them chatting.

Paul and Michelle soon found out they had the same birthday and Paul quickly offered to take Michelle out to celebrate when they both turned 21 just 10 days later. In the meantime, he also invited her to a party at his fraternity house the next day. The angels must have held their collective breath for 24 hours as Michelle - who admits she was turned off by frat guys - debated whether to go.

Again someone higher intervened, Michelle and Paul say. Many of her friends, who also knew Paul, urged her to take a chance on this "great guy." And so she did.

In the mass of people at the party, Paul and Michelle found each other immediately (those guardian angels hard at work once more).

They began dating and within a few months had endeared themselves to each other's families. Last year, on their 22nd birthday, Paul proposed to Michelle under the stars as they stood at the top of Federal Hill.

On Sept. 5, Michelle and Paul were married at St. Joseph's Church in Fullerton. The Catholic Mass included several ceremonies that honored Michelle's Filipino ancestry. There was the laying of the veil to demonstrate the couple's commitment to the church and God's mantle of protection over them, and the laying of a special golden cord over the veil to show that they have been united forever in a true and infinite love.

Paul and Michelle also lighted a set of special wedding candles, which represented the Light of Christ illuminating their path as they travel together through life.

Michelle's parents, who live in White Marsh, and Paul's parents - Patricia and Roy Kuntz Sr. of Rochester, N.Y., - sat proudly among the 250 guests. The large bridal party included the three brothers that Paul and Michelle have between them, as well as cousins and friends.

As the angels above breathed a sigh of relief and the crowd on Earth shared knowing smiles, Monsignor Alfredo Rodriguez summed things up best in his wedding homily. God took some time to make a mate for Adam, he said. "But he took only 28 minutes to make a mate for Paul."

Pub Date: 9/13/98

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