Thursday, November 16, 2006

Profiles inCatholic Courage: Ana and Andy Argueta

I like series, so I'll be doing a number of series here at "cause of our joy". The first is "Profiles in Catholic Courage". These are my friends, neighbors, and any stories I come accross of people who live the Gospel of Life heroically, and humbly, doing what they do only for love of the Lord, and their family.They will probably never be canonized, but we can applaud their efforts, and be inspired to imitate them as they reflect Jesus.'

My first hero is a mother-son family. Ana Argueta, age 38, is a single mom, and a Salvadorean immigrant, who enrolled her 6 year old son, Andy, in my bi-lingual First Holy Communion Class. She warned me that her son had delicate health and shouldn't wrestle with the reambunctious boys, but I didn't know the half of it.

Andy had a brain tumor, and when it was removed, they found spinal cancer, which is nearly incurable. He is undergoing chemotherapy but, unless a miracle happens, he will die shortly. Andy's Godmother, Carmen, advised me of this, I called the Spanish priest, and we made a plan: Andy would immediately receive his First Holy Communion and Sacrament of the Sick.

The mothers of the class planned for coffee and cake after Mass, as Ana didn't have time to set up a party, running to the hospital every week for Andy's therapy.

The evening of his First Holy Communion, Andy wore a white suit, which only emphasized his yellow complexion. I winced at the sight of his bald, scarred head, but soon was distracted by something greater; his beaming smile. Andy smiled the entire Mass, sometimes looking back at the congregation to see if we were smiling as well. We certainly were, through many tears!

Later, over two slices of cake, Andy ran around the church basement with the other kids, saying elatedly, "Mommy, they all love me so much, look at this!"

Ana graciously thanked everyone, and seemed just as pleased. No self pity, that if Andy died, she would be alone in the world. No jealousy at all our healthy children. Just plain gratitude.

I forgot my camera in the rush, but I'll try to post a photo of Andy and Ana's beaming faces, so much gratitude for such a simple act of love on our part.

I don't think I will every see a little boy as happy as Andy on his First Holy Communion Day. He and Ana are Catholic Heroes.

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