Fr.Enzo Del Brocco CP
"His father asked me: "Can you please baptise him?". I was caught in surprise because that was actually the only thing I was really able to do. I did not hesitate, I took some water in my hands and after praying with his father and the Sisters, I baptized JP. It was a very moving moment and my heart quietly shouted to God: he's not only your creature now, he's your son! Please have mercy..."
I wish to share a beautiful story of a child (J.P.)
On Saturday, Sept 12, day of the Holy name of Mary I went with Fr. Rick to do clinics at St. Joseph's with the Sisters of Charity, commonly known as the Sisters of Mother Theresa. As usual, when we go to the slum areas, we go by motorbike so to easily make it through traffic. But in this area even the motorbikes have a hard time to get through as the church is in Croix des Bossales, nowadays a street market where people sell their crops occupying every inch of the street in such a way that if you throw a needle in the air it will never touch the ground on its way down! During the French Colony, this market place was also occupied by people, but who where unfortunately sold as slaves. It used to be the slave market.
At a certain point we had to get off our motorbikes and after pushing and elbowing our way through the crowd we finally arrived at the gate. As we entered hundreds of poor people were standing with all kinds of wounds and diseases waiting for care. Before starting, the Sisters invited everyone to say a prayer and then we began visiting, washing, cleaning and bandaging wounds of every kind. Fr. Rick spent his whole time especially visiting the children who where mostly affected by HIV, malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, hepatitis. One of them, JP, was totally dehydrated and could barely breathe. I could see on Fr. Rick's face his concern yet still hope in his eyes. As a doctor he thought that JP wouldn't make it but as a priest he did not give up on hope. He asked one the Sisters to put an IV, which was a real challenge as the dehydration was so severe that it seemed impossible to catch his veins. Fr Rick told me to observe carefully the skill of the Sister. I was impressed not only by her skill inserting the needle in one of the veins on the child’s head but especially on her devotion while she was doing it. A devotion to God asking for his assistance, and towards JP recognizing how every life is sacred. The same devotion I always saw in these sisters when they spend their early hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I saw now in front of JP. Once inserted the needle, Fr. Rick asked me to squeeze with all my strength the sack so to force the fluid as quicker as possible to try to save the child before sending him to St. Damien Hospital. Before putting the second IV, looking at JP and his father, my heart was broken and I didn't know what to say, so I asked JP's father if there was anything else I could do. His father asked me: "Can you please baptise him?". I was caught in surprise because that was actually the only thing I was really able to do. I did not hesitate, I took some water in my hands and after praying with his father and the Sisters, I baptized JP. It was a very moving moment and my heart quietly shouted to God: he's not only your creature now, he's your son! Please have mercy.
Right after the baptism, Fr. Rick comes back handing over to JP's father a paper, telling him that there is no time to waste and to run to St. Damien's hospital, but the poor man had no means and it would of taken hours before one of our ambulances could ever get there. So Fr. Rick asked Fr. Hugo Esparza, a Passionist from Mexico who came to visit, to accompany them to the hospital. Imagine the scene on the motorbike with the driver, the father in the middle holding his son and Fr. Hugo holding the IV in the back going through the crowds on the roads full of holes, garbage and dust.
Once finished visiting all the other patients we headed back to St. Damien’s early afternoon. I ran into the emergency room to see JP and here he is, pale and unconscious. I ask the doctor about his conditions, and she said he would probably die in a few hours because he had septicemia. I looked in his father's eyes and I saw a mixture of fear, desperation and loss and again I quietly cried to God: JP became your beloved son today, please have mercy!
After sunset I went back and before entering I saw the doctor at the desk and before I opened my mouth to ask how JP was, she opened her arms and said: he's still alive. I went to his bed and his father was next to it exhausted and asleep. I quietly touched JP's right hand and he grabbed my finger almost as he was saying to me: no worries, I hang on and I won't let go.
Today JP is still alive and is now the malnutrition room recuperating fantastically and each time I see him, he grabs my finger saying: Hang on and never let go! --
S. Enzo Del Brocco, cp