As many of you know our son Ryan was on the autism spectrum. Since he has gone home to Our Lord we still try to help raise awareness and, when we can, funds to help those who fall on their spectrum and their families. Autism Speaks has benefited from the kind and generous people who have donated in Ryan’s memory and we have found that we can donate to them in good conscience as Catholics.
Tomorrow evening our parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is having an instrumental concert in Ryan’s memory. Erin is one of the featured musicians and it playing in memory of her brother.
This is why I will never leave this parish. People who, almost six years later, are still remembering our dear son.
I hope that this month, as you encounter the trials and tribulations of life, that you can offer up a bit for those people and their families who are dealing with the face of autism in their homes. These faces are beautiful, created in the image and likeness of God, but require special patience and a willingness to stretch yourself to your very limits as a parent and as a sibling. Thank God for these children, they are a living means to heaven.
Today is World Autism Day, an excellent day to pray for our friends who have autism in their lives and to wear blue in their support. In honor of that I would, again, like to share a poem that I wrote in April of 2009, the last April we had Ryan.
The Face of Autism
The face of autism lives in my home.
He is often confused.
He is rarely smiling.
He is dismayed by change.
He makes odd food choices.
He often shows a lack of understanding for the feelings of others.
He repeats things endlessly.
He has quirky habits.
He can be downright surly.
He is lit up by music.
He is gentle with babies.
He shows great compassion for visible suffering.
He occasionally shows great intuition.
He will entertain toddlers for hours with silliness.
He has a deep love of the Mass.
He has an innate piety.
He navigates a world he does not understand better than I could.
He is the child who made us parents.
He taught us so much.
He is the face of autism in our home.
He is my joy.
If you are local please consider joining us tomorrow evening, 7:00, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. 240 South Wellwood Avenue, Lindenhurst.