So Eddie went to the other church…the wine giving church…the church with a priest who does not discount my brother’s equal need for an equal serving of Christ’s blood. 

He got there without me.  He got there because he assembled a sort of Catholic Navy Seal team to help him. 

He got Walt…the stalwartly staff member who tried to work with the new priest….but the new priest wouldn’t budge, in fact he hunkered down in his decision to stop giving the cup to the handicapped parishioners. 

He got Miles…the guy who gets Ed coffee and doughnuts every week after church in the community room.  He sits with Ed and talks, and has for years and years…maybe even a decade.  Miles, too, talked with the belligerent priest to no avail.  Miles started the escape-from-St. Joe’s plan.  He began to talk with the priest at the other church.  He told him the story.  He got a promise from the priest that he would treat Ed like any other parishioner.  He started planting the notion in Ed’s “I-hate-change” mind of switching churches. 

Ed finally agreed, but then he had to start working on the staff at the place where he lives.  There are limited in the number of drivers on Sunday.  This switch in churches would mess up the transportation schedule.

Ed worked on getting the other Catholic client to agree to go to the new church, but he is an easily swayed guy.  Once he committed to Ed, he panicked.  He decided he wanted to stay at St. Joes.

Ed did some fancy wheel-chair work and somehow procured a ride with another driver. 

So last Sunday he went for the first time.  He was so happy.  The people were quite gracious.  Miles was not there, so he was on his own, but people got him to the community room and fed him donuts and plied him with coffee and introduced themselves and welcomed him.  Even Walt was there.

But none of that happened until after he sat through the service, waiting, hoping for the opportunity to gulp the blood of Christ down his gullet, and not just have a slight taste upon a dunked host.  The moment came.  The priest smiled and he gave Ed the chalice in the manner he was been given the chalice for the past twenty-odd years since his accident.

All is well with the world.

As he told me this tale he said, “I probably shouldn’t have said this, but the priest came up to me after the service and we talked. I told him about what happened at St. Joe’s and he said that he understood my anger.  He said he would always give me the wine and not just dunk the host.  And then I said, ‘That priest at St. Joe’s f***ed up.’”

He laughed as he told me this.

“Eddie, Jesus!” I said.

Ed laughed louder.  He said, “The priest laughed and said, ‘You’re going to hell for that.’” 

We both laughed and laughed. 

When he gathered his composer Ed said, “You know, I think that priest from St. Joe’s did me a favor.  If he hadn’t stopped giving me the wine I would never has changed churches.  I like this one so much more.  It is nicer.  I can get around in my chair so easy.  The people were so much friendlier.  And the priest told me I was going to go to hell.”  He paused.  “This is my kind of church…and I would never have gone if all this hadn’t happened.”

I love that Ed took care of all this on his own.  I love that he knew how to get others to help him.  I love that he has friends that look out for him.  I love that he had this opportunity.  I love that the priest at St. Joe’s f***ed up!

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