Walking up Holy Cross aisle to marry – 134 years after her great-grandparents

When Josephine Fangman and Ferdinand Wehberg married at Holy Cross in November 1885, they began a family legacy at the South Baltimore church which includes a fourth generation tying the knot.

World War II was raging when the youngest of their eight children, Joseph Wehberg, married Alice Lee in June 1943, at Holy Cross. Their daughter, Margaret, received the sacrament of matrimony alongside William Storey at the church in October 1967, a union that produced 10 children. Then one of their daughters, Margaret, married Scott Walker at Holy Cross in October 2001.

Extended family may have thought they were seeing double Oct. 12, when the Walkers’ twin siblings, Katherine Wehberg and Kevin Walker, were married, at Holy Cross, of course. (More on that union, in a bit.)

Along the way, plenty of cousins continued the tradition, according to Elizabeth Sharp, a younger sister of Katherine and Margaret, who brought the family tradition to the attention of the Review and pointed out that, along the way, her ancestors did more than receive sacraments at the church that was completed in 1860.

According to Sharp, Ferdinand Wehberg, a carpenter by trade, climbed the steeple to replace the original wooden cross after it had disintegrated. (The replacement has since been restored.)

Sharp said that the Holy Cross rectory helpers included her grandmother, Alice Wehberg (of the 1943 wedding), the housekeeper, and an aunt, Elizabeth Wehberg Linski, the cook. Margaret Storey was a sacristan. Katherine Walker, the newlywed, recalled her mother teaching her how to arrange flowers and iron altar cloths.

“As I grew it was instilled in me that I had to be married there,” said Kathe-rine Walker, who refurbished her parents’ cherished wedding album after it was water-damaged. “We girls always wanted to be married at Holy Cross. That’s what I hoped for and that’s what I got.”

It took a while for that hope to be realized.

She met her husband, appropriately enough, at a wedding, in 2000. The 2001 marriage of their twin siblings. Margaret and Scott, put them in the same family circle, even after Kevin married in 2005.

“You know, twins stay with twins,” said Katharine, who house-sitted for her sister’s in-laws when they went on vacation and developed a relationship with their daughter, Cailyn.

Kevin’s wife, Nicole, took ill and died in 2017. Later that year, he asked Katherine out on a date. Last December, while strolling the Inner Harbor, Kevin got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. Of course, their twin siblings were there to witness it, Margaret recording the proposal.

When her father married the woman she used to call “Aunt Kate,” Cailyn, now 11, served as maid of honor. The officiant was Father Thomas Malia, who married their twins back in 2001.

Katherine, 47, is a special education teacher at North County High School in Anne Arundel County and teaches religious education at Christ the King Parish in Glen Burnie. Her husband, a Lutheran, is a tree technician specialist for Scientific Plant Services. They’re making a home in Owings Mills, but there was only one place she would marry.

“It’s like family,” she said of Holy Cross. “It’s home.”

Mary K. Tilghman

Mary K. Tilghman

Mary Tilghman is a freelance contributor to the Catholic Review who previously served as managing editor, news editor and staff writer for the Review.

A parishioner of St. Ignatius in Baltimore, she and her husband have three adult children. Her first novel, “Divided Loyalties” (Black Rose Writing), a historical novel set in the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, was published in 2017.