On Friday, November 13, 2015 an amazing thing happened.
No, not that....
I am not referring to the horrible attacks in Paris launched by Islamic Jihadists. I am not referring to the ongoing war against Western Culture and Judeo-Christian Civilization from people who think the proper way to honor God and evangelize is at the edge of a sword.
Something else happened that night, and it happened in my home town.
It happened in my parish.
A young man received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Probably doesn't seem like much to you. It pales in newsworthy importance next to the carnage wreaked by a group of people who want to cut my head off.
However, I think it is worth noting because the child in question is not considered 'viable' in today's world.
Matthew has Cerebral Palsy.
He cannot speak, he cannot walk and he drools. He has to strapped into his wheelchair for safety and he has to concentrate very hard to keep his head and neck erect.
Matthew, born into a Catholic family and raised in my parish, has grown up in public. We have all seen him every Sunday, at every event, every festival and pot luck dinner. He has grown from a beautiful little boy into a handsome teenager with a smile that will melt the heart of anyone other than a member of ISIL. He has gorgeous blue eyes, clear skin, and a steady gaze that is friendly and sweet and full of joy.
Matthew is my hero.
I have the privilege, as a Catechist, of walking people through their initial Faith journey when they come to us for Full Communion with The Church. I have met some really interesting people - some of them have been a handful, let me tell you. I have met people who struggle so much against giving their lives to The Church because of how the world will perceive them. Believe me, I understand. Us Catholics are not popular despite (or maybe because of) the overwhelming popularity of our current Pontiff. Scratch any WASP conservative OR liberal and you will find a very active an unashamed anti-Catholic. Don't believe me? Ask Ann Coulter. Ask Hilary Clinton.
Unlike the adults that come to us for teaching, Matthew is like me; a cradle Catholic brought up in the fullness of the Faith and given all the riches of the Gospel from the moment the Sacrament of Baptism is received. Unlike me, he has been surrounded by two parents who trust Jesus Christ and His Church. I had one sane parent - Matthew has two. It makes a difference, believe me, though it took me years to acknowledge that the prayers of my mother were what brought me home to Rome.
I sat in the Church Friday night, watching as Bishop Blaire confirmed our newest members of The Church Militant. I watched as Matthew's sponsor pushed his wheelchair to the Bishop and I saw Matthew's eyes light up as the chrism oil touched his forehead.
Across the ocean, on another continent, violence reigned and people died because my life, and my world is hated so much. But in that moment on Friday night I felt myself fully in the Presence of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and I knew that despite the threats to my way of life, despite the people who hate us, despite those who think we are something we are not and are determined to destroy us by law or by violence, all is right with the world.
God is either all or God is nothing.
I chose today to believe He is all - and I pray for Paris.
I pray for peace.