Loading
April 22, 2013
Boston solidarity
By Brian Caulfield *

By Brian Caulfield *

My 8-year-old son will receive his First Holy Communion next month, so I was struck with an overflowing sense of empathy when I saw the online image of the 8-year-old boy in his First Communion suit who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing. That could have been my boy in the picture, dressed in a white tie and jacket, smiling innocently while standing outside the church, holding an art project with symbols of the sacrament – chalice, bread, host – very similar to the First Communion banner of my Justin that hangs on our door at home.

How incredibly sad that Martin Richard, this child of God, this child who was such a gift to his parents, should die as a result of a cowardly act of terrorist violence, on a sunny day of celebration at the Boston Marathon. I showed the picture to my son, who simply whispered, “Oh,” when I explained what had happened. The look on his face indicated that the world outside had suddenly become a lot bigger and more inexplicable to him. Who would do such a thing? Why do bad things happen to good First Communion boys?

According to news reports, Little Martin’s mother and sister, also standing along the spectator route near the end of the marathon, suffered serious wounds. The father, Bill Richard, was able to walk away from the bloody crime scene. The family was active in the Dorchester community and their parish. As a fellow Catholic father, I feel a spiritual bond with Bill Richard, a man I have never met, and I pray each night, and at times throughout the day, for him and his family.

What can he be thinking, what must he be feeling, having lost his little boy and with his wife and daughter in the hospital? I know I would feel grief, coupled with anger at the attacker, and a good deal of emptiness and confusion. Yet this good man, no doubt supported by his faith, his family and his parish, released a statement the day after the bombing:
“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.”

The goodness of this man’s soul shines through these words. There is a touch of the Holy Spirit about them, in what they say and in what they silently acknowledge can never be expressed. Through a delicate declaration of grief, facts, love and measured emotion, Bill Richard has shared an appropriate part of his loss with the world. Fathers, especially, should be inspired now to pray for him and his “dear son Martin.” Let not this sadness pass without it lifting us up to become better fathers and husbands, men of deeper prayer and more practical and charitable action at home, at work, in our parishes and in our communities.

We may never face the devastating grief that Bill Richard is facing, but we are tested in so many ways each day to rise above our weakness and bring strength, peace and love into our own lives and the lives of those who depend on us.

As a start, perhaps we could suggest in our parishes that every First Communion class next month remember little Martin Richard, who may serve as a modern model for those receiving the sacrament for the first time.

Brian Caulfield is editor of the website Fathers for Good, an initiative by the Knights of Columbus that features regular articles, videos and other multimedia on the subject of Christian fatherhood. A father of two young boys, Brian writes on the spiritual truths found in daily life and the issues men face while striving to live out their vocation.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
21

Liturgical Calendar

October 21, 2014

Tuesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Gospel
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 2: 12-22
Gospel:: Lk 12: 35-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Homily
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: