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DEDHAM — Some moments come once in a lifetime and Matt Rogers knew one when he saw it.
When he learned that Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley was coming to St. Mary Parish in Dedham Nov. 7 to confirm over 100 Life Teen members, Rogers jumped at the chance to propose to his girlfriend, Shannon Kelly, a Life Teen core member and youth instructor.
Shortly before the final blessing, Rogers, 27, got down on one knee and proposed to his now-fiancée, Kelly, right in front of the packed church.
Providentially, the archbishop’s homily for the Mass had focused on the importance of the vocation of marriage in today’s world.
"The archbishop's whole homily was about how important it is to have a spouse who has the same beliefs as you. Sometime during the homily, I leaned over and told Matt, 'We've got those covered.' He must have been laughing so hard inside," she said with a smile.
"During the announcements at the end of Mass, someone said, 'Something else very special is going to happen tonight,' and then one of the Life Teen kids said, 'Isn't that Matt?' and I knew what it was all about," gushed Kelly.
"It's all such a blur," she continued. "I was somewhere between sobbing and laughing hysterically and screaming. I still can't believe what's happened."
According to Kelly, the proposal prompted the archbishop to joke, “Apparently someone was listening to my homily, but I didn’t think it would get such quick results!”
According to Karen Kelly, Shannon’s mother, Rogers decided to propose during a Life Teen event because “he knows how important Life Teen is for her.” For the past six years, Kelly, 25, has been tirelessly involved in the program.
When Rogers found out the archbishop was going to preside over the confirmation Mass, he decided to seize the opportunity and propose at the end of the Mass.
Right after Kelly accepted Rogers’ proposal, Archbishop O’Malley blessed the couple.
"What a way to start your engagement," commented Karen Kelly.
For Kelly, the proposal came as a bit of a surprise. “We had definitely talked about being married,” she said, “but I didn’t think he’d propose until Christmastime. He completely surprised me at Mass.”
Kelly and Rogers met in high school, but did not start to date until two years ago. Within the first week, Kelly recalls telling Rogers, “We’ve only known each other for one week, but I really think this is it.”
The two plan to be married June 11.
"I don't want to wait any longer than I absolutely have to," Kelly said, adding that "many couples nowadays move in together and live together before they're married. Matt and I don't want to do that, so we just want to get married as soon as we can."
Kelly is certain that Rogers is the answer to her prayers.
"Matthew means 'gift from God,' she mused. "I just think that it's so cool that his mother named him 'gift from God' so many years ago not knowing that he really is my gift from God."
"I'm just glowing from the whole experience," she beamed.