Can’t Fake That

A special-needs child named Alex was one of the altar servers at All Saints Catholic Church yesterday. His genuine enthusiasm and surprising reaction to me at Mass is something I couldn’t have planned.  Alex wears hearing aids and communicates through both sign language and speech. I mentioned him on my blog when he was featured in the News Sentinel in 2006.

My promo tour for the Kids Helping Kids Fun Walk continued yesterday at All Saints and today at Sacred Heart Cathedral School. Last weekend I was at St. Albert the Great Parish. As honorary chairman of the May 16th event, I am trying to get as many people as I can to pre-register. Earlier today, Fr. Ragan Schriver and I recorded a public affairs interview to air Sunday morning. The show focuses on Columbus Home, which benefits from the walk.

Fr. Michael Woods and I talked before the Adult Social on Friday. As pastor, he’s been known to make announcements at the end of Masses celebrated by the other priests. Since he would be out of town on Sunday I asked if I could borrow his shtick and plug the Fun Walk at the end of each Mass on Sunday. I knew I could reference Fr. Ragan’s famous “three things” to get a laugh. I didn’t know that Alex would give me the best endorsement.

At the end of the 10:00 a.m. service,  I stepped up to the cantor stand and began my spiel. I had gotten as far as “I’m Frank Murphy from Star 102.1” when Alex the altar server shot his hands in the air and let out a whoop of happiness. I found out later that he wanted me to know that his Scout troop will be participating in the Fun Walk. I was startled by his outburst but knew instinctively that I needed to accept and advance it. I said, “That’s my buddy, Alex” and reached over to shake his hand. Instead, he responded by giving me a great big bear hug, which touched the heart of everyone in the congregation.

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