A Catholic priest living the joy of priesthood in the midst of the flock.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Just A Positive Story about the Beverly Police and Fire Departments
One of my two churches is located on a busy downtown street and is open on a daily basis so people can come and pray. Recently, one homeless visitor found his way into the church and into a tiny closet where he amazingly was able to contort his body to fit. After discovering him and having no success in waking him (he was passed out from alcohol), I called the police.
After only a few minutes, a couple of Beverly Police Officers and a Beverly Fire Engine arrived. Upon opening the closet door, they all recognized the passed out man from what I imagine is a long history of interactions. After a lot of effort, the man was somewhat awakened, but couldn't move very well and he was covered in his own feces. It was a disgusting sight and odor.
What I will most remember about this event, however, was not the sadness of seeing a human being covered in filth and passed out in a closet. I will remember how these officers, firefighters, and EMT's treated this man with incredible dignity and respect. There was nothing dignified about this man's condition, but those who arrived on the scene treated him as though he were a member of their own family or as though this man exercised important political clout. They treated him like a human being.
The priest with whom I live will often say when he sees somebody in that condition, "Imagine, one day he was someone's little baby. Some mother was holding him in her arms and showing everyone how proud she was of her new son." Whatever transpired between that day and today cannot be erased. But, the other day--unseen and unnoticed to anybody but themselves--a few police officers and firefighters treated that woman's son with a dignity and respect that surely will be rewarded by the One who sees all that is hidden.