Three weddings and a priest

Jerry and Peg Mitten's wedding in 1955, with Fr. Allan Nilles

That first wedding within his own family was easy to say yes to.

It was the mid-1950s, and Fr. Allan Nilles, a relatively new priest, had been eagerly delving into his new life serving God's people.

When the phone rang and he heard his sister's voice announcing her engagement, he hesitated, but only for a moment: Would he officiate at her nuptials?

It would mean 180 miles round-trip from Jamestown, N.D., to Fargo, N.D., but how could he refuse Peg, one of his closest siblings?

"It was maybe taken for granted that I would be the one to do it," recalled a smiling Nilles, now 90.

He couldn't have guessed then that some 28 years later, he'd be presiding over the wedding of Peg's son Pat Mitten and 30 years after that, in June 2013, guiding the vows of Pat's daughter Maggie Mitten.

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A version of this story appeared in the May 23-June 5, 2014 print issue under the headline: Three weddings and a priest .

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