Husband & Wife Articles



Toasts with friends warm the heart

By Christina Capecchi

When Catholic author Michael Foley and his wife hosted an engagement party for a 20-something couple, the gathering took on a sprawling, open-house feel, with various groups branching off in various spaces.

It wasn’t until the 45-year-old father of six, a college professor in Waco, Texas, stood up and made a brief toast that the informal gathering gelled into a memorable experience for all.

“It got the ball rolling and then others chimed in,” Michael told me. “It had a unifying effect, and it became an opportunity to publicly share one’s admirations for the couple and their wishes. That kind of thing should happen more often!”

Michael’s delightful new book, Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Happy Holy Hour, offers an impetus for daily toasts by pairing feast days with related cocktails.

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“To St. Vincent the Deacon,” you might say on Jan. 22, raising a glass of wine, “may we be bold in our witness of the faith!”

“To St. Scholastica,” you could declare on Feb. 10, lifting a mimosa, “and the primacy of charity!”

“Catholics should be natural toasters, for ritual is in our blood,” Foley writes in his book. “We recognize that formality does not replace spontaneity or joy but completes it, channels it, enriches it.”

And yet, he asserts, the ancient art of toasting is in “a lamentable decline.”

My husband and I are doing our part to raise the next generation. Our 2-year-old will occasionally call out “cheers” and clink plastic tea cups or bananas, whatever the case may be. She understands the nature of the gesture, to celebrate a shared activity.

As a married person, there is no better partner in toasting than your spouse. It’s a simple way to uphold your union and mark time together.

“Here’s to the summer solstice, that we can share this longest day of the year.”

“Here’s to our fifth World Series married!”

A toast can help you celebrate big and little victories: weeding a garden, finishing your taxes, getting the kids to bed.

A toast can also buoy you up during challenges.

“Here’s to getting the dishwasher fixed!”

“Here’s to beating the flu!”

Whether you’re feeling blessed or stressed, whether you’re thriving or surviving, a husband-wife toast says: We’re in this together. It elevates a moment into an act of fellowship.

Here are a few of the toasts Foley suggests in Drinking with the Saints:
Ad multos annos (“To many years” in Latin, a rough equivalent of “many happy returns”).

Cent’anni (A contraction of the Italian cento anni, or “one-hundred years,” used to toast to 100 years of health).

Salut (“To your health” in French).

Prosit (“To your health” in Latin, it appears in the traditional Latin Mass in a prayer before the priest’s Holy Communion).

This last one is Michael’s favorite, drawing from the language of the Church. He also keeps a book of Irish toasts at his disposal. With six kids, he says, it feels as if there are frequent birthday parties, when he’ll articulate a toast to the child of honor, saying, “May God grant her many years of happiness, virtue and wisdom.”

Here’s to more toasts, and occasions to toast!

Christina Capecchi lives in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., with her husband, Ted, and their two girls, Maria and Jane.