NEW YORK (AP) _ A man dying of AIDS and his wife had their Valentine's Day wish come true this morning when they exchanged marital vows in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

''I don't have the words to say how I'm feeling,'' a tearful Maria Hefner said after the service. They married in a civil ceremony three years ago.

David Hefner, 38, wearing a grey pin-striped suit, appeared pale and emaciated as he went through the ceremony. His wife, wearing a gold wedding dress with a gold bow in her hair, wiped away tears after the service before a large crowd.

The couple kissed for a crowd of reporters and cameramen before climbing into a limousine outside the church and leaving.

The wedding became controversial in January when church officials who had approved the wedding denied the couple's request for a ceremony in the Manhattan cathedral.

After several days of discussion, the wedding was approved pending the couple's completion of counseling at their parish church. The Hefners completed the counseling and the wedding was okayed.

Hefner, a Protestant, described himself as a former homosexual. He was diagnosed nine months ago as having acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Mrs. Hefner, 33, is a Catholic who called St. Patrick's her ''dream church.''