Kellen Stepler | Editor-in-Chief
Bells are a common occurrence on the Bluff. Church bells, the 6:15 bell — even wedding bells.
On average, Duquesne’s Chapel hosts about 50 to 60 weddings per year, according to Debbie Kostosky, campus minister and liturgy coordinator at Duquesne. This year, thanks to the coronavirus, there have only been nine weddings in the chapel. Kostosky said that all weddings scheduled during the months of March through June had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
To get married in the Chapel, either the bride or groom must be a current student, employee or alumni of the university, and either must be Roman Catholic. The suggested donation for the Chapel is $200, and couples must provide a priest or deacon for the ceremony.
Because Duquesne is not a parish, the couple must write a brief letter to the Diocese of Pittsburgh marriage office stating why they have chosen the Duquesne Chapel for their wedding rather than their home parish.
“Couples write how special their connection is to the campus and the chapel itself,” Kostosky said.
For Ashley Geese — now Kane — coordinator for student involvement and disability services at Duquesne, and Anthony Kane, director of the office of diversity and inclusion, it was only fitting to get married at the place where they met. The couple got married in the chapel Sept. 19, 2020.
They met working in residence life — Ashley came to Duquesne in 2016 and Anthony started working in 2013. They never directly worked together, but Ashley recalls when she began working at Duquesne, she was welcomed into a friendship group with everybody that worked in residence life. Their relationship began to flourish from there.
“He actually was the first person to be my backup, so if I needed anything; I had him, so it was a cool, like, ‘first type’ to see how supportive he was. But at that point we were still just friends,” Ashley said.
But Duquesne wasn’t just a place for them to work — it was also a place for them to continue their educational careers. Anthony earned his doctorate in 2019 in Educational Leadership, and Ashley earned her master’s in higher education administration.
“Some of our biggest supporters and people who were a part of our day were affiliated with the university,” Anthony said.
Ashley noted that she and Anthony actually both got baptized and confirmed in the Chapel. Anthony grew up a couple blocks down the road on Forbes Avenue, while Ashley is from the Forest Hills area.
Kostosky said that with COVID-19 restrictions, couples are permitted to have 25 people in the chapel for a wedding, and the people attending are to wear masks. However, the ability to have the wedding livestreamed was “super accommodating,” Ashley said.
“Whenever we weren’t so sure what was going to happen with the numbers and the capacities of everything, we always knew that we at least had [the livestream] if it just had to be the two of us and our priest,” Ashley said.
“With the streaming capabilities we had, people [had] watch parties and [were] watching all over the country,” Anthony said. “That’s what makes a Duquesne wedding special, because they’re bringing everyone together, regardless of what their faith background is, or their personal background or their life background.”
Captured on the livestream was one of the “most surreal” moments of Anthony’s life: Ashley walking down the aisle. Hands on his head and overcome with raw emotion, he said that he doesn’t think he could try to react that way again.
“It was just my natural reaction,” Anthony said. “I tried to hold it back and fight it, but there was no use at that point. I was like, you know what, I’m just going to let it all out.”
Ashley said that it was awesome to get married at a place that held so many memories of them.
“Even though we didn’t start our lives academically here, it’s safe to say we’re finishing them here, and just being able to see how much one place could do for us as a couple,” Ashley said. “It just so happened to me to be work, and just flourishing into marriage, and hopefully a big family one day.”