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Dad steps up and takes daughter with autism to prom

Going to prom is the highlight in many young girls’ lives. It can also be a bit nerve-racking, since finding the perfect prom date is not always easy. This was the case for 17-year-old Tori Perl who was diagnosed with autism when she was in seventh grade. The result of her diagnosis means that the…

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Dad steps up and takes daughter with autism to prom

Going to prom is the highlight in many young girls’ lives. It can also be a bit nerve-racking, since finding the perfect prom date is not always easy. This was the case for 17-year-old Tori Perl who was diagnosed with autism when she was in seventh grade.

The result of her diagnosis means that the teen is actually like “a 13-year-old living in a 17-year-old girl’s body,” according to her father Thomas in a report for Yahoo, meaning she is happier playing with her dolls and video games than trying to find a date — something her father jokes he’s pretty relieved about. So the idea of going to prom was far from the family’s mind.

But when a family friend said she had a spare prom dress, Tori’s parents were determined to make sure their daughter had the whole prom experience, something she could remember for the rest of her life. Her mom Anna reached out to three fellow seniors in her daughter’s class at Batavia High School in New York to be Tori’s prom escort. The first two turned down the offer so all hopes were pinned on the final senior. But then Thomas did what dads do best: he stepped up and saved the day.

Realizing his daughter may not have an escort, the 50-year-old offered to take his daughter to the prom himself. And Tori, who’s very close to her dad, was thrilled with the suggestion. Thankfully her school made an exception to their rule of no prom dates over 20, allowing Thomas to accompany her.

In true father-daughter style, Thomas went along to all the pre-prom appointments: taking photos at the flower shop when she got her corsage, and watching her get her hair done for the big occasion.

What makes the event even sweeter is that Thomas never went to prom himself, so this was to be a first for him, too. Making sure he looked the part, he pulled his 10-year-old tuxedo out of his closet and with the help of his wife, they even fashioned a pink pocket square out of copy paper to match his daughter’s outfit.

When the father-daughter team arrived at the prom there were a few reactions, with people asking, “Who is the old guy walking in with Tori?” Thomas recollects. However, they were also quick to tell Tori she looked beautiful. With a stride in her step, Tori and her dad danced to “Confident” by Demi Lavato, snacked on Munchies, and took a few obligatory pics in the photo booth.

However, the night wasn’t quite complete. To end the night in style, Thomas took his daughter to Denny’s for an ice cream, a truly heart-melting experience.

Thomas hopes this experience “can change the world,” adding “There’s nothing that can stop these kids from doing what they want to do.” And with loving and supportive parents like the Perls, we’re sure that Tori will fulfill many other dreams.

 

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Worried about the future? Find peace in this short prayer

It’s relatively easy to be worried about the future. We simply don’t know what is going to happen today, tomorrow, or next year. This state of uncertainty can cripple us at times, keeping us from doing anything out of fear of the unknown. St. Josemaria Escriva consoled someone in a similar frame of mind, who…

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Worried about the future? Find peace in this short prayer

It’s relatively easy to be worried about the future. We simply don’t know what is going to happen today, tomorrow, or next year. This state of uncertainty can cripple us at times, keeping us from doing anything out of fear of the unknown.
St. Josemaria Escriva consoled someone in a similar frame of mind, who said to him (as quoted in The Way of the Cross), “Father, I am having a very rough time.”
In response, the saint composed a short but peaceful prayer of abandonment, entrusting to God everything past, present and future.
My Lord and my God: into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future, what is small and what is great, what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, things temporal and things eternal.
Asking his friend to pray this prayer, St. Josemaria wrote, “Then, don’t worry any more.”
The only way we can move forward in calm is to entrust our “rough times” to God and then let the worry go. He is in control, and will be with us every step of the way.

 

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Pope Francis reminisces about 6th grade

Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say that our Jesuit pope also has Salesian roots. Pope Francis hinted at this on Sunday, May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, which is an important Salesian feast. “Today, on the day of Mary Help of Christians, I address an affectionate and cordial greeting to the…

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Pope Francis reminisces about 6th grade

Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say that our Jesuit pope also has Salesian roots. Pope Francis hinted at this on Sunday, May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, which is an important Salesian feast.
“Today, on the day of Mary Help of Christians, I address an affectionate and cordial greeting to the Salesians,” he said, following the midday Regina Coeli prayer at the Vatican’s Apostolic Library. “I recall with gratitude the spiritual formation I received from the sons and daughters of Don Bosco.”
The Pope did not mention it directly, but he was referring to 1949 when he and his younger brother, Oscar, were enrolled as boarders at Colegio Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles run by the Salesians at Ramos Mejía.
Pope in Salesian school
The Virgin Mary, under the title Mary Help of Christians, is the principal patroness of the Salesians of Don Bosco, the religious congregation that Don Bosco founded in 1859 in the northern Italian city of Turin, to serve the young people.
The city’s Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, which was commissioned by Don Bosco himself, remains the heart of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The Argentine Pope’s remarks on Sunday is not the first time that he has spoken about the influence of the Salesians of Don Bosco in his childhood.
Turin, June 22, 2015
Pope Francis visited Turin, June 21-22, 2015, during which he joined the Salesians in celebrating the 200th birth centenary of Don Bosco, who was born on August 16, 1815, and died on January 31, 1888. ‎
During his visit, the Pope met the Salesians, including the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, known as the Salesian sisters, which Don Bosco co-founded with Saint Mary Mazzarello.
While commending Don Bosco’s ministry for young people, the Pope recounted fond childhood memories of his family’s closeness to the Salesians and how, when his mother was ill, he was taken out of public school to spend one year studying with the Salesians.
The Holy Father spoke of how he grew very attached to the Salesian community in the year he spent with them and that one priest, in particular, followed him from Baptism to the realization of his vocation, accompanying him ultimately on his journey to the Jesuit Order.
Salesian priests Fathers Enrico Pozzoli and Cayetano Bruno are particularly remembered by the Pope.
“Evangelii gaudium with St John Bosco”
Again, in January 2019, Pope Francis wrote a preface to the book, “Evangelii gaudium con don Bosco” (Evangelii gaudium with St John Bosco), a collection of reflections by 25 members of the Salesian family.
Commending the spirit of joy of Don Bosco, despite the thousands of “difficulties that besieged him every day”, the Pope recalled his association with the Salesians as a boy in Argentina.
While studying in a Salesian school, he wrote in the preface, he found that same “climate of joy and family.” The Salesians, he said, trained him to appreciate beauty, work, and cheerfulness – and this, he told the Salesians, “is your vocation.”

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Houston church closes again after priests test positive for COVID-19

Catholic churches in Texas had begun offering Mass for the public again in early May. But at one parish, public Masses were abruptly suspended again after three priests tested positive for COVID-19. “Today we learned that three members of the Redemptorists community living and working at Holy Ghost Parish have tested positive for COVID-19, Fr.…

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Houston church closes again after priests test positive for COVID-19

Catholic churches in Texas had begun offering Mass for the public again in early May. But at one parish, public Masses were abruptly suspended again after three priests tested positive for COVID-19.
“Today we learned that three members of the Redemptorists community living and working at Holy Ghost Parish have tested positive for COVID-19, Fr. William Bueche, C.Ss.R., pastor of Holy Ghost, said in a statement May 16. “While the individuals themselves are asymptomatic, they, and the other members of the community, are in quarantine in the residence isolated from the others. All members of the household have been tested and are awaiting results.”
Fr. Bueche said that one of the individuals who tested positive had been active in celebrating public Masses at Holy Ghost since the church reopened on May 2. He urged anyone who has attended Masses in person at Holy Ghost since the reopening to “monitor your health for any symptoms and be tested for COVID-19, as a precautionary measure.”
The priest said he informed the City of Houston Health Department about the situation.
In a statement issued Monday, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston noted that, Fr. Donnell Kirchner, a 79-year-old priest at Holy Ghost died. “The specific cause of death is unknown, but he had been recently treated at an urgent care clinic who referred him to a hospital emergency room,” the statement read. “He was diagnosed with pneumonia but he was not admitted to the hospital and ws sent home with medication. It is not clear if he was tested for covid-19 at either faciity. He returned to the residence he shared with seven other members of his religious order.”
The statement said that following Fr. Kirchner’s death, the other Redemptorists “sought medical advice, and all were tested for the coronavirus. Although the parish had followed cleaning, sanitation and social distancing guidelines described by State health officials since reopening on May 2, they determined at that time it was best to close the church immediately to public Masses until the results of their tests were known.”
The archdiocese also noted that in-person attendance at Holy Ghost had been “closely controlled” and that attendance at Mass on Sunday never exceeded 179, far short of the 900-person capacity. Weekday Mass attendance as a “small fraction of that amount.”
An earlier statement on the parish website said that Masses would be canceled as of May 14 because the Redemptorist community was self-quarantining while awaiting results of the COVID-19 tests. Suspension of Masses included the funeral for Fr. Kirchner originally scheduled on Saturday, May 16.
 

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