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New Jersey Mom Furious After Her 7-Year-Old Son With Autism Is Kicked Out Of His Sister’s Baptism

Eyewitness News ABC7NY/YouTube

A New Jersey couple received an apology from the Newark Archdiocese after their 7-year-old nonverbal son with autism was removed from his sibling’s baptism by the priest running the ceremony.

Julia Vicidomini swiftly asked the priest to apologize for kicking her son out for being a “distraction,” but the priest refused.

The boy was playing with a ball during the baptism, prompting the ire of the priest of Christ the King Church in Hillside, New Jersey.

In a Facebook post, Vicidomini wrote:

“My husband told [the clergyman] that he thought a priest, of all people, would be more sympathetic to a child with special needs, that he was completely unprofessional and ruined our celebration.”

“Yes, he was playing with a toy where he should not have been, however, the way the priest kicked him out of the church was completely rude and disrespectful,” Vicidomini continued.

“I tried to explain that Nicky has autism and doesn’t understand. We finished the ceremony, put the kids in the car and then [her husband] Marc went back in to speak to the priest.  He explained that our son has autism and he is non-verbal and doesn’t understand. The priest then began to raise his voice and tell my husband that he should not have been playing in church and that it was a distraction to him trying to perform the baptismal ceremony.”

The Archdiocese of Newark said that “the pastor was unaware that the sibling playing in a nearby candle room during the ceremony has autism.”

“We offer our heartfelt apologies for the abrupt behavior demonstrated by one of our pastors on Saturday during a private family ceremony.”

The Archdiocese added:

“The pastor did not understand the child’s behavior, he felt unprepared to respond appropriately, and his reaction to the situation was not pastoral. He acknowledges and is regretful for the mistake.”

Despite the Archdiocese of Newark’s apology, Vicidomini and her husband, Marc, do not intend to return to Christ the King church.

Mike Walsh

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.