Brian Rooney helps his son Blaise during his First Holy Communion.
The Rooney’s Story
Blaise Rooney has epilepsy, a brain injury, and cerebral palsy. He was baptized as an infant and as he grew up, his father Brian could tell he had a true love for the Mass. There were always indications that Blaise knew what was going on, even if he was unable to articulate the details. Brian and Tiffany, his wife, wondered if he would be able to receive the Eucharist. Because of Blaise’s disabilities, Brian knew that he would be unable to go to Confession, but Blaise is truly incapable of grave sin.
Brian and Tiffany still knew that as the most important advocates for their son, they would need to continue searching for the proper spiritual care he needed. As devout Catholics themselves, they wanted their child to experience the fullness of the faith during holy Mass. They knew that his sacrament, the Eucharist, is the source and summit of the Christian life and that their son would benefit greatly in receiving it.
St. Louis Guanella, the founder of the Servants of Charity who oversee St. Louis Center, said, “The Father waits only for a fraternal gesture of love in order to supply through His own means what is needed by whomever He is helping.” Brian could see that fraternal gesture on the face of his son during the consecration at Mass and often at that moment Blaise says, “He did it.” After speaking with Fr. Enzo Addari, SdC at a recent event, Brian and Tiffany decided to seek the sacrament for their son.
Blaise gets his First Holy Communion
After meeting with their parish priest, Blaise joyfully awaited the day of his First Holy Communion, March 11, 2023. “It has given us such great joy to see Blaise receiving Communion. It has added to his life and to ours.”
If you are grappling with a similar situation, Brian encourages you, in the words of St. John Paul the Great, to “Be not afraid.” Pope Francis, in his message for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on November 20, 2021 said, “As the true vine, He wants every branch, in union with Him, to bear fruit. Yes, Jesus wants us to attain ‘the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints…’” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 1).
This article appears in the Spring 2023 issue of St. Louis Spirit newsletter.