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What's a little flapping between friends

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

August 29, 2018

Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

He trudged down the stairs and into the dining room, still rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Mom, I was just thinking, and I want to be an altar server.”

Those were the first words out of my son’s mouth that morning in the latter half of 2016.

“We’ll see, buddy,” I responded.

Why the non-committal response?

As I’ve previously mentioned, my son, Jacob, is on the autism spectrum. Many individuals on the spectrum exhibit self-stimulatory behavior, or “stimming” – repetitive actions such as rocking, spinning or hopping. Jake stims. His stims are flapping his hands and a skip step and/or hopping movement.

I wasn’t sure if our parish would accept occasional flapping and hopping in the sanctuary. I knew it could be a distraction. I knew there could be potential mistakes related to it.

The next Sunday, I approached our pastor, Father Raymond J. Moreau, to inquire on Jake’s behalf. Not only did Father Ray excitedly agree to allow Jake to serve, he celebrated Jake’s willingness and desire to do so. He welcomed Jake’s service.

Jake (like any new altar server in our parish) received a round of applause after serving his first Mass. He’s been serving since.

There is sometimes stimming in the sanctuary. No one seems to care about that. In fact, over the last two years, our little parish has demonstrated immense love for Jake and for our family.

That love and sense of community help fuel Jake’s desire to serve the Lord.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the diocesan altar servers Mass and picnic, both as a mom and reporter. I spoke to servers from around the diocese. These are young people who are excited to serve the Lord and their parishes.

May we all be the types of communities and people who encourage continued love of the Lord and love of service, both in our youth and in each other.

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