A young non-verbal boy with autism was kicked from the church by a priest after making noises and playing with his ball during his sister’s baptism.
The incident happened at Christ the King Church in Hillside, New Jersey, where the Vicidomini family had little Sophia baptized in a private ceremony.
As the baptism was taking place, Julia Vicidomini’s son Nicky, who has autism, was playing with his toy ball and making noises.
While the parents ignored the racket, Priest Luke Duc Tran eventually paused the ceremony and ordered that 7-year-old Nicky is taken out of the church.
“Take him out for me. Out. Out. Out. The church is not for play,” the priest told the young boy’s grandmother.
After Nicky’s parents attempted to explain the reason behind the 7-year-old’s behavior, the priest insisted the noise was causing a disruption during the sacred ceremony and had to be stopped.
As the parents sought an apology after the baptism, the priest defended his actions and claimed Nicky was distracting him from the task at hand.
Following the ceremony, Julia opened up about the incident and revealed that the family wanted Nicky to be a part of baptism even though they typically don’t bring him to church because he doesn’t do well in crowded places.
While the mother admitted she should have informed the priest about the 7-year-old’s condition in advance, she insisted the situation was not handled properly and branded the priest’s behavior “unacceptable.”
“My mother-in-law was staying close to our boy while we were front and center for the baptism. Yes, he was playing with a toy where he should not have been, however, the way the priest kicked him out of the church was completely rude and disrespectful. I tried to explain that Nicky has autism and doesn’t understand,” Julia expressed.
“Marc went back in to speak to the priest. He explained that our son has autism and he is non-verbal and doesn’t understand. The priest then began to raise his voice and tell my husband that he should not have been playing in church and that it was a distraction to him trying to perform the baptismal ceremony.
“My husband told him that he thought a priest, of all people, would be more sympathetic to a child with special needs, that he was completely unprofessional and ruined our celebration. He told him our family deserved an apology.
“The priest came outside to speak to our family but instead of apologizing he began to try to justify the reason he kicked our child out, again saying he was distracting him.”
After the incident went viral, The Archdiocese of Newark has apologized and confirmed that the pastor in question “acknowledges and is regretful for the mistake.”
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