Prayer and parish nurse ministry save a life

During a Saturday evening Mass last February at Assumption Church, Christ the Redeemer Parish in Atco, Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus Ray Whisler suffered a cardiac arrest, and his life was saved thanks to his brother Knights and parish nurses.

With funds provided by the Knights of Columbus Councils 7643 and 7774 and parishioner donations, Christ the Redeemer now has five AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators) in its churches and facilities.

In addition, an equipment monitoring and CPR Certification program has been taught by Kathy Benton and Dr. Marian Nowak, parish nurses. For many years, the two have taught CPR certification to both student and adult groups within the parish community.

When Whisler’s cardiac arrest happened at Mass, Beth Rollins, a nurse at Virtua Health, and Benton performed CPR and used the AED to save his life.

“It is a miracle we had nurses here to help,” said Father Thomas Barcellona, pastor.

“The entire church prayed the rosary for (him) as the nurses attended to his medical needs. Now Ray is doing well and has even been back to church.”

At Christ the Redeemer, the Health and Parish Nursing Ministries are ways the parish serves the total wellbeing of the community.

“Our health ministry is a group of doctors, nurses and natural helpers who offer our services in charity for our community,” said Dr. Nowak, a parish nurse for 14 years, and an assistant professor at Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden.

In 2001, Benton, formerly an Emergency Department nurse and currently a high school nurse, established the Parish Nursing Ministry, in which she has served as its coordinator for many years. For more information on Christ the Redeemer’s Parish Nursing, contact Dr. Marian Nowak or Kathy Benton by calling the parish office at 856-767-0719.

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