Saint Paul Seminary vice rector aides convert fighting stage 4 breast cancer on journey to sacramental marriage

father scott carl celebrates mass at the saint paul seminary
Vice Rector Fr. Scott Carl celebrates Mass in St. Mary’s Chapel at The Saint Paul Seminary.

Saint Paul Seminary Vice Rector Fr. Scott Carl first met Maria Carmen Morra during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Her smile radiates,” Carl recently recalled to the Star Tribune. “The mask could not hide her joy.”

That smile was on full display May 25 at St. Odilia Catholic Church in Shoreview, Minnesota, when Carl celebrated the wedding of 52-year-old Morra and her husband, Antonio.

Maria has Stage 4 breast cancer and isn’t sure how long she’ll live. But the convert to Catholicism wanted a sacramental wedding, and Fr. Carl accompanied the couple in their journey to make it happen.

From columnist Laura Yuen’s article:

A convert to Catholicism, Maria decided a couple of years ago she wanted to marry Antonio in the church. But several priests weren’t willing to marry them; the religion discourages divorce. Maria had married her first husband in the early ’90s; they remain good friends and raised a son together. Maria and Antonio needed to prove that Maria’s first wedding wasn’t a Catholic service (and therefore, not valid in the eyes of the church), and that her ex was baptized as Catholic.

In Rev. Scott Carl at St. Odilia in Shoreview, the couple found a compassionate ally determined to kick away obstacles.

“It almost took some detective work,” he said, recalling the decades-old paperwork needed to green-light the wedding.

Carl has served as vice rector at his alma mater since 2004. He assists on weekends at St. Odilia, which is where he became connected with Maria and Antonio.

“If the priest starts crying, it’s not a very helpful thing,” Carl told the Star Tribune. “But certainly my heart was moved.”

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