Alan and Evelyn Yong renewed their marriage vows at SJI International chapel. Evelyn is suffering from fourth-stage cancer.
Marriage Encounter (ME) presenter Evelyn Yong, who is suffering from fourth-stage cancer, had wanted to renew her marriage vows in church.
When she got married to her husband, Alan, 12 years ago, she was not yet a Catholic. Alan, in his own words, also described himself as a lukewarm” Catholic then.
The couple said their wedding “was just going through the motions” to fulfil Alan’s parents’ wishes of having a church wedding.
On June 26, Evelyn, 38, got her wish to have a church “wedding” – thanks to help from her ME “love circle” community.
She and Alan renewed their vows at the SJI International chapel in the presence of family members and friends. A rock band added to the celebratory mood.
Evelyn said that for the past few years, she had thought “it would be nice to have gotten married in church as a Catholic with Alan”.
The idea arose after taking part in an ME weekend in 2008 and after having presented three weekends, which helped her “to better understand the significance of the Sacrament of Marriage”.
Evelyn added that her battle with cancer was a journey of faith, which had made her “want to experience that oneness with Alan in God’s presence”.
In an email to one of the couples, Jerome and Roseline Chang, from her ME love circle, Evelyn had expressed her wish to renew her marriage vows in church. This sparked a covert operation within the group to fulfil Evelyn’s dream.
The plan also took on greater urgency after Evelyn’s health started deteriorating in May.
Each love circle member was put in charge of a task. Through their network of friends and contacts, they managed to organise the ceremony within a month, complete with a rock band.
The plan involved only Alan at first. Evelyn came to know about it when Alan “proposed” to her again towards the end of an ME weekend in early June, in which they were both presenters.
However, the renewal of vows ceremony was nearly called off when Evelyn’s health took a turn for the worse. But she recovered and the event went ahead as planned.
Evelyn said she saw the celebration as a miracle, and added that she was humbled and touched by the love of her friends. She said she was also happy to see her parents, who are not Catholics, see their daughter celebrate life and love.
“God has been part of the family, giving His special blessing on this day,” said Alan, 40.
The couple have three daughters.
By Darren Boon