'Fernando's Footsteps': Sacred Heart Catholic Church

In "Fernando's Footsteps," Fernando marries the love of his life, Giuseppina Licata at the Sacred Heart Church, which starts the next stage of the book and his life.

As the relationship between Giuseppina and Fernando developed, Fernando sought and received permission from her parents to propose marriage. Giuseppina readily accepted his proposal. Mr. Licata then offered to bring Fernando into the family business, but Fernando respectfully declined. He preferred to demonstrate that he could attain financial stability on his own. Still employed at Sanchez y Haya, Fernando had worked his way up to assistant manager of personnel. This further impressed Giuseppina's father. His literacy, work ethic, and ability to get along well with the other employees had served Fernando well.

"Bueno, Gaitero. Tenemos que irnos, porque nos esperan en la iglesia"

Ignacio reminded Fernando that they needed to go because others were waiting at the church.

Maruxa and Aniceto were already dressed and waiting on the front porch. Maruxa, in tears, rushed over to Fernando and warmly hugged and kissed him. He had honored the couple by asking that they serve as his "parents by proxy" during the ceremony and dinner afterward. Considering them far more than his landlords, Fernando was grateful for their love and friendship since his arrival in Tampa.

As the carriage made its way from Ybor City to downtown Tampa, Fernando was deep in thought. Earlier in the year he had decided that he was financially prepared to enter into marriage. With the Licatas' approval they considered which Sunday would be best. Fernando attributed it to good luck, but Giuseppina felt it was divine providence that St. Lucy's Day, December 13, would fall on a Sunday. The decision was made.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church occupied a modest wooden building in downtown Tampa, the corner of Florida Ave. and Twiggs St. As the carriage stopped in front of the church, hundreds of guests were filing into the building. Fernando and Ignacio hugged Maruxa and Aniceto and handed them off to one of Giuseppina's cousins from New Orleans who was serving as an usher. The two Spaniards entered the church through a side entrance. Father Conde greeted them. He and Father Amorelli would be conducting the wedding mass. They joined the waiting groomsmen. Ignacio was, of course, Fernando's best man. The others consisted of Turiddu and Rosario, Giuseppina's brothers, and Josė and Manolo, Fernando's friends. The men took their positions to the right of the altar. The church was completely full. Fernando smiled at Maruxa and Aniceto, who were seated in the front row to his left. Maruxa began crying, and Aniceto rolled his eyes. (Tony Carreño, Chapter 36)