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Love and marriage on the World Youth Day trail

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Engaged couple William Attard and Louise Bartolo received a blessing at Cana while on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Photo: supplied

Love was in the air when one Aussie World Youth Day pilgrim popped the question to his girlfriend in Paris and three couples renewed their wedding vows at the Wedding Church in Kfar Kana (modern day Cana) in Galilee.

Western Sydney school teachers Isabella Plust and Andrew Valenti were engaged in front of the Eiffel Tower in the city of romance before 170 of their fellow pilgrims, during the Parramatta pilgrimage en route to Lisbon, Catholic Outlook reported.

Isabella Plust and Andrew Valenti were travelling with their WYD pilgrimage group from the Parramatta diocese when Andrew proposed. Photo: Supplied

“I’ve tried to hide this ring from her for six months now,” Andrew said.

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“I’ve had to keep it safe on the plane and the whole journey here while keeping it from her. It’s been crazy stressful but at the end of the day it’s been all worth it.”

Isabella said she was in shock but overjoyed at the proposal and that the pilgrimage had deepened their love for each other and for God.

“I’ve always dreamed of going to Paris, I’ve dreamed of it since I was a little girl,” she said.

“I’ve always had this little Eiffel Tower in my room, this little statue that I’ve kept most of my life and I’ve always said to myself I would love to go to Paris one day and I’ve managed to do that,” said Isabella.

“To not only go to Paris but be engaged to the person I love. It’s been honestly incredible and I just can’t wait to start this new journey and chapter together.

“It’s been amazing.”

Sydney Catholics Stavros George and Mary Trippis, Duane Denetto and Sandy Dankha, and Mathew and Alison De Sousa were part of the Sydney pilgrimage through the Holy Land en route to Lisbon.

Sydney Catholic pilgrims renewed their wedding vows before Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. Photo: Supplied

They renewed their vows before Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP on 25 July in the church built in the town where Jesus attended the wedding feast at Cana, and performed his first miracle. Archbishop Fisher also blessed couples who had one spouse on pilgrimage and one remaining in Sydney, as well as engaged couple Louise Bartolo and William Attard.

Louise said it felt surreal to be touring the Holy Land with her soon-to-be husband. “William and I experienced a beautiful blessing from Archbishop Fisher and said a prayer to each other on the altar at the church in Kafr Kanna,” she said.

“I have never been more emotional looking at the man I will soon marry and feel a sense of peace and so much love for him. Being in one of the most monumental places of Jesus, with the most special person to me, has been my highlight and the most unforgettable moment in my life so far.”

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