Couple celebrates in basilica after celebration
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Aubrey Dreiling Hearld admitted her emotions ran the gamut when she received an email in February from Father John Schmeidler, pastor of St. Fidelis Catholic Church in Victoria.
Schmeidler was telling the soon-to-be bride another ceremony had been scheduled for the church on the same day -- and this event had been set by the bishop's office in Salina.
St. Fidelis just had learned its request to be named a minor basilica had been granted by the Vatican in Rome.
After checking with other bishops in the state, Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Diocese of Salina -- of which St. Fidelis is a member -- set June 7 as the date of the celebration Mass.
After learning of the news, Schmeidler quickly emailed the soon-to-be bride, whose wedding to Derek Hearld was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. the same day.
"I was a little shocked at first. I called Mom and said, 'You'll never believe this,' " she said. "Then I got to thinking that God must have a reason that was happening on our special day."
It didn't take long for the Dreilings to realize that would make the wedding extra special.
Now, the Hearlds have the distinction of being the first couple to be married in St. Fidelis after it was named a basilica -- less than three hours afterward.
Saturday's basilica celebration Mass ended at approximately noon, and the wedding began at 2:30 p.m.
"We could have moved the wedding to 3 (p.m.), but all the announcements had been printed," said Mary Jane Dreiling, Aubrey's mom. "So we just all worked together and made it work."
"At first, we were a little stressed out," added Aubrey's dad, Stan Dreiling. "But we had never done a wedding before, so we didn't know what to expect anyway."
The new bride had reserved the church in November 2012 because it was the same church her parents were married in nearly 31 years ago, and the Dreilings are members of St. Fidelis.
"It's always been my dream be married in that church," she said.
The wedding party was able to get into a room in the back of the church by 11 a.m. -- plenty of time to get ready.
"They are very fortunate, blessed to be the first ones to be married in the basilica," Aubrey's mom said.
"What an honor, not only to be married in the same church that Mary Jane and I were married in," Stan Dreiling said, "but also to be the first couple to be married after it was named a basilica."
Rather than St. Fidelis Church, the couple's marriage certificate is from the Basilica of St. Fidelis.
"It's definitely an honor," Aubrey said, and her new husband nodded his head in agreement. "We were married in a basilica."