MARIA AND MARKO MEDVED
It all started with a dance. Two SDSU student teachers just wanted to dance. Two ensigns, just wanted some beer. Dancing just helped you meet the girls in the place where they served the beer. The B -52’s “Love Shack” began to play, and Marko asked the question, “Want to dance?” His shipmate asked her friend, and lives were forever changed. San Diego, Newport, Kailua, and Ventura, Seattle, San Francisco, and Norfolk made the dating port calls around two deployments during the Gulf War. Pre Cana classes were held in the Koolau Mountains in Hawaii and they married in the hills of Virginia. Then came a move to Puerto Rico, where their son Jack was born in 1997. A daughter, Carly, came in 1999.
In 2000 they were shocked as their son Jack had devolved from a typical toddler to one living with a devastating autism diagnosis. Later, Jack would be hospitalized for 12 days with scarlet fever, and a resulting diagnosis of PANDAS, an autoimmune disorder that results in tics, OCD and rage behaviors. Finally, testing revealed heavy metals poisoning. Their lives became consumed with therapies, diets, supplements, doctors, and schools. Their beautiful boy couldn’t sit through a meal. Sitting through a Mass was an improbable experience. And how would he ever receive the Sacraments? How would he come to know God?
Prayers were answered when they came back to Sacred Heart. Carly was in set to preparation for Reconciliation and First Communion. Emily DeCesare and Pat Reichert shared that the Church offers all of the Sacraments to Jack, in whatever way he is able to participate. Jack stood proudly next to his sister and received his First Communion, and last year, he received the Sacrament of Confirmation at Sacred Heart. Jack is a wondrous child of God, and inspires us with his pure heart, and genuine gratitude to Him for all things.
For Marko, church has always been about community and action, just as it was in his 25 Navy years where he built and maintained buildings for our Service communities, and now serving in the Knights of Columbus. Maria’s calling is in disability ministry and Ability Awareness Day. This year she initiated the inclusive White Mass. They both want to see a parish hall worthy of these communities. Dancing for Sacred Heart wasn’t an easy yes for them. Out of 25 Navy and Seabee Balls, Maria has probably talked Marko into 12 dances. Combining it with helping the parish grow to include more families of all abilities in faith and action, brought them to the next yes for a dance, no excuses.