It all started at a fish fry.

In the spring of 2019, Leah Pietrangelo happened to sit across from Brent Fassbender at Divine Savior, Fredonia, and began talking about college.

Fassbender ended up applying to Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend, where Pietrangelo was attending. They were reunited that fall and took courses together each semester until Pietrangelo graduated. Their friendship blossomed into a romantic relationship in August 2021.

From the moment Pietrangelo met Fassbender, she hoped there was something in the future for them. When she saw him at their college’s new student welcome day, she was happy because she didn’t think she would ever see him again. When she started to get to know Fassbender more deeply as they became friends, she began having feelings for him and started to pray — offering her feelings about him up to God. It grew stronger from there, which led them to take the next step in their relationship. From that moment, she knew God had bigger plans and felt at home with Fassbender.

Fassbender realized this relationship was headed for marriage sometime during the summer of 2022. Every Sunday, the two met over coffee, discussing the chapters they read for the Catholic book club they did together. The conversations would last between two and four hours, discussing theology, Jesus, Scripture, apologetics, body, mind, spirit and soul. According to Fassbender, these intimate conversations revealed how brilliant, articulate and beautiful Pietrangelo was. Throughout these sessions, Fassbender became more and more confident that Pietrangelo was not only his best friend but the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

For both Pietrangelo and Fassbender, there were a few fundamental things they wanted to complete before the next step — him moving out on his own and both settling into their work roles. When Pietrangelo was away for a night in Door County with one of her friends, they joked around about how Brent would propose to Leah when she got back —never thinking it would happen. Fassbender, however, took advantage of her absence to set the stage for his proposal.

One day, he went to the jeweler, chose a ring he knew Pietrangelo would like (thanks to Pinterest), paid for it, then headed to her home to visit her father to ask for his blessing. Fassbender threw her off the scent — texting her throughout the day, giving the impression he was fishing, even though a thin layer of ice was already forming across the water. After Mass the next day (Nov. 27), Fassbender told Pietrangelo that he forgot one of his lures on a bench where they often hung out, so they walked there to look for it. An unsuspecting Pietrangelo turned around and saw Fassbender on one knee with a ring protruding from a finished box.

They will get married Sept. 9 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Kewaskum. Before they started dating, they would meet every Sunday after church to do a book study at Coffee Corner in Kewaskum. With Fassbender being from Fredonia and Pietrangelo from West Bend, Kewaskum was an excellent mid-point for them to meet.

Fassbender found St. Michael’s Parish and started attending, so he and Pietrangelo could meet each week. While Fassbender was a practicing Catholic, Pietrangelo was Protestant within the Christian Missionary Alliance denomination. They started their book study off with a general prayer book. Leah took an interest in the Catholic faith — and they started reading books about Catholic history, traditions and conversion stories. Pietrangelo came into the Catholic faith, being confirmed at Holy Trinity on April 16, 2022. Holy Trinity was a natural choice for entering into another beautiful sacrament, and they look forward to attending Holy Trinity/St. Michael’s as a married couple.

Pietrangelo and Fassbender were blessed with parents who have been married for more than 30 years and are centered in Christ. They had a daily example of what it meant to love one another through the happy and hard times, and the importance of Christ as the foundation of a marriage. Their parents demonstrated proper communication, selfless love and charity.

Finding a partner with whom they could live this kind of life was important for both of them. Pietrangelo explains: “I have been praying for Brent for as long as I can remember to enter into my life. I prayed for a man who was on fire for God, filled with silliness, outgoing, down to earth and had his own passions. Brent meets each of those desires and so much more. Brent consistently encourages me to chase after my dreams and directs me toward Christ. He brings out joy, strength, challenges to strive for better and hope into my life. Brent is my rock when I get into my lowest of lows and my number one cheerleader in my highest of highs. He is truly an amazing man (whom) I cannot wait to do big leaps of faith with, laugh to our fullest and grow in our faith together.”

They keep one another accountable — attending Reconciliation each month, praying the Rosary together each morning, and encouraging each other to spend time with God in prayer individually.

Brent cannot wait to call Leah his wife. “Leah is such a beautiful woman. She is not only soft on the eyes but is a motivated and intelligent go-getter with a heart of unblemished gold. Her constant loyalty, compassion and love is the envy of men, and I am blessed beyond what I deserve to soon be able to call her my wife. Leah is also my best friend. From all the marriage advice I have received, it seems that keeping this trait alive and growing is essential for life together, and I am more than relieved to hear that even though life may change and throw curveballs at us, I will have my constant companion, best friend and love with me the whole way.”

One of the many things they most look forward to as a married couple is making a home and starting their own family. They intend to raise their children in the faith. They are also excited to see the world together, starting with a pilgrimage to Rome with their parish two weeks after the wedding.

Leah Pietrangelo and Brent Fassbender are planning to get married Sept. 9. (Submitted photo)