I saw post on one of the local Jackson, NJ Facebook groups I belong to about a controversy at my local parish church. It seems that 8 year old Anthony LaCugna’s parents were told that their autistic, non-verbal son would not be allowed to make his First Communion at St. Aloysius Catholic Church; the parish told the parents that since he is unable to distinguish right from wrong he cannot satisfy one of the benchmarks required for communion.

Anthony’s parents, Nicole and Jimmy LaCugna posted that “we all are created by God and now our son is being shunned from the Catholic faith due to his inability to communicate.” Nicole LaCugna told the Asbury Park Press that “Anthony is as happy and active as any boy and attends an inclusion class at a regular public school.“He does well for his abilities, his process is a slow process and he does what he is able to do.”

The Rev. John Bambrick is the pastor at St. Al’s and posted on the church’s Facebook page that “we have been researching how we could best assist the most profoundly disabled in a better way. New information has come to light which allows us to by-pass previous Diocesan Guidelines to better serve this subset population.” Nicole LaCugna isn’t buying that, telling the Asbury Park Press that even if the Jackson parish changes course, she’s not interested, saying of Father Bambrick, “I will not have him go to a priest who treated him this way."

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