St. Louis, Mo., Apr 9, 2015 / 14:56 pm
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped one young boy to live his dream by experiencing, in part, what it's like to be a priest for a day.
Eileen Haubrich said that her son, 11-year-old Brett, didn't "want anything" like a trip to Disneyland or the chance to meet a celebrity when he was approached by Make-A-Wish Missouri.
"For years, he has loved the Mass and been religious," she told the St. Louis Review. "He has such a good heart. He's a very caring boy."
The foundation then asked what he wanted to do when he grew up. Brett said he wanted to be a priest, or else a doctor or an engineer.
Brett, the second of Conrad and Eileen Haubrich's four children, has served Mass at his family parish and his school church, but "being a priest for a day" was a special honor that Archbishop Carlson himself helped plan, reported the archdiocesan publication.
The Haubrichs told several priests they knew about their son's wish, and many of them had creative ideas such as having Brett serve a Saturday Mass at the cathedral or letting him and his dad spend a night at the rectory.
Then, Fr. Nick Smith, Master of Ceremonies at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, suggested that Brett serve at the Chrism Mass and the Mass of the Lord's Supper during Holy Week.
Archbishop Carlson, who was standing nearby when Fr. Smith received the phone call from the Haubrich family, was enthusiastic about the idea and added a few additions of his own.
"He was throwing out ideas right and left, 'Let's do this, let's do that'," Fr. Smith said of the archbishop to the St. Louis Review. "He said, 'Put him in there; we'll wash his foot'."
"Before you knew it, it turned into a whole day."
On Holy Thursday, Brett processed in with the priests, deacons and seminarians at the Chrism Mass. Later that day, he had his feet washed during the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper. A seminarian even loaned him a collar to wear while serving the Masses.
Taking part in these Masses was especially meaningful to the boy, who has a special devotion to the Eucharist.
"I like receiving the Body and the Blood," he told the St. Louis Review.
Archbishop Carlson also invited him for a luncheon with priests and deacons after the Chrism Mass and dinner with seminarians at his residence.
"The whole thing," he answered when asked what his favorite part of the day was. "It was really neat for them to let me do this stuff."
Brett is fighting a grade three brain tumor known as anaplastic astrocytoma, according to his GoFundMe page, set up by his therapy team to help his family cover his medical bills.
He is undergoing chemo and radiation therapy since brain surgery is not an option.
"He is a strong boy that needs prayers," the message on his website said.