Erin and Zach Biggers prepare for the sacrament of marriage during OLV's Easter Vigil (photo provided)
Erin and Zach Biggers prepare for the sacrament of marriage during OLV's Easter Vigil (photo provided)
Last month, during the Easter Vigil at Our Lady of Victory in Troy, Zachariah Biggers was baptized into the Catholic Church.
Then a few minutes later, he got married.

“My hair was still wet!” he laughed, recalling the night. Right after his baptism, Biggers and his wife, Erin, tied the knot at OLV’s Easter Vigil celebration. “We did the baptism and then rolled right into the wedding.”

After being fully confirmed into the Church, it made sense to receive all the sacraments in one shot. After all, they were already in a church.
“He got baptized, confirmed, received his First Communion and got married all in the same day,” Erin said.

Legally, the Biggers were married on Sept. 18, 2020, the day of their 10-year anniversary together. The couple had always hoped to get married on that day, so they wed in a Maryland courthouse with Zach’s best man as a witness, and their dog, Nissa, as the ring bearer.

But going through with the sacrament of matrimony was important to Zach, who had been in OLV’s RCIA process for over two years.

“Getting married in the Church feels more significant because it’s more bonded, it means more to me,” Zach said. “Our joke is that we got married twice now.”

Both raised in Maryland, the couple met in high school and started off as close friends. Though it wasn’t the smoothest start: “My grandpa was the town’s garbage man. I was helping him out so I was Erin’s garbage man,” Zach said. “So when I met her, my first words to her were ‘Hey, I know where you live!’ ”

“I was like, okay, you’re weird,” Erin laughed. “But I guess it worked.”

After graduation, Zach left for Penn State Harrisburg where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice. Three years ago, he was accepted into the University of Albany’s doctorate program in criminal justice, so the couple packed up and moved to Troy.

Zach noted the Ph.D. program can be extremely strenuous at times. He often found himself stressed out or pulling all-nighters just to get work done. One night, after an overwhelming amount of work, he needed something to get through.

“It was my first year of my Ph.D. program,” he said. “I was up all night working and I was stressed and tired. So I looked up OLV and I went to Mass.”

Seeking out the church was a spontaneous choice, especially since Catholicism — or any kind of faith — was never a strong factor in his life. “Neither of our parents were religious at all,” Zach said. Erin was baptized Catholic but raised Episcopal¬≠ian, though neither really stuck. 

“I barely went to church, just occasionally for holidays I would go with my grandma to (an Episcopalian) church but that was it,” Zach said.
After a few weeks of attending Mass, Father Randall Patterson, pastor at OLV, approached him. “He didn’t recognize me and he tried to talk to me,” he said, “it sounded like he was happy to see new faces.”

He connected Zach with Vici Armsby, pastoral associate for faith formation, who set him up with Rick Taglieri, a catechist, who worked with Zach through the RCIA process for over two years. “We would meet twice a week and would talk about everything,” Zach said. “My understanding was surface level about the big mystery and Jesus being fully human and divine. I was getting clarification and talking though that.”

“I was really proud of him and it was something he really wanted to do,” Erin said. “I was proud he was doing this on top of school and work.”

As for the wedding, both partners were a little nervous but equally excited to make the sacrament. The Biggers are hoping to have a “third wedding” later in the year (as COVID-19 restrictions ease and vaccination rates rise) to celebrate their marriage with their friends and family.

“Marrying Erin, it was that persistent feeling of happiness,” added Zach. “I love my wife so much that I could jump for joy and it wouldn’t be enough.”