Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
With prayerful support, compassion and cooperation, St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, helped to make both a wedding day and Mother’s Day extra special for a young engaged couple and the bride’s critically ill mother.
Three months ago, Lori McCahill, the parish marriage minister, said she met with Allie Miller and Rafal Slowik who were facing a serious situation as they were planning their wedding. The bride’s mother, Ellen, who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, had taken a sudden turn for the worse as the disease rapidly progressed.
Miller, who is Jewish and currently resides in Cranford, and Slowik, who is a devout Catholic, sought McCahill’s advice in their wanting to know if they could be married in Meridian Nursing Home and Rehab at Bayshore, where Ellen receives round-the-clock care.
“The bride did not want to be married without her mother in attendance, and it was her mother’s dying wish to see her only daughter married,” McCahill said.
“The groom, who is a devout Catholic, really wanted to be married in the Catholic Church,” McCahill said.
When McCahill approached Father Garry Koch, pastor, on how the parish might advise the young couple who met in college, Father Koch simply responded, “Let’s make this work.”
McCahill set out to obtain needed permissions and paperwork from both the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, from where the groom hails, and the Trenton Diocese, where the nursing home is located, and “they moved heaven and earth” to make the wedding happen at the nursing home.
On Friday, May 12, two days before Mother’s Day, McCahill said that “amongst the beeping of machines and the humming of ventilators, a beautiful Jewish bride married her handsome Catholic groom” in a beautiful interfaith ceremony presided over by Deacon Steve Scott of St. Benedict Parish and Rabbi Bill Kurry.
In witnessing the coming together of Miller and Slowik, McCahill said that “once again, we are reminded of God’s providence as in our darkest sorrows he brings us happiness and shows his love for us.”