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Thought for the week:

I was at a meeting recently to help organise the 25th annual Maynooth to Galway charity cycle of which I was a founding member. Earlier this year it made close on €86,000 for Pieta house a fantastic charity supporting mental illness and suicide prevention. Next year is our 25th year of the event and we have chosen Down Syndrome Ireland a charity that is very close to my heart. I was thinking coming home from Maynooth the other night with my friend Gary how great it is to be able to help and support people and especially children in need in this present climate that we live in and indeed been able to help any charity during these times is a great gift and a gift that we should all use if we are able too, so that we can help as many people and children in need. As I thought about the charity we had chosen and indeed many charities that help children who might need special care at times, is that when a child like that comes into our world, an opportunity to realise true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child whether the child is unwell or has some other specific need. I suppose the following story from my Nana Scullys prayer book might help me explain what I am trying to say.

Darragh the goal scorer supreme

Darragh and his father had walked past a footbal field where some boys Darragh knew we playing football. Darragh asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play.’ Darragh’s father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Darragh on their team, but the father also understood that if his son we’re allowed to play, it would give him a much needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Darragh’s father approached one of the boys and asked if Darragh could play, not expecting much. the boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘ We’re losing by six points and the match is in the second half. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to the forwards in a while’. Darragh struggled over to the team’s dug out and put on a team jersey with a broad smile and his father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the fathers joy at his son been accepted. With ten minutes to go, Darragh’s team scored a few points but were still behind by three. In the next few minutes Darragh was put in at corner forward.

Even though no balls came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. With five minutes to go, Darragh,s team scored again. Now, behind by just two points, the potential winning goal was a possibility and Darragh based himself just outside of the large square. At this juncture, do they pass the ball to Darragh and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Darragh was given the ball. Everyone knew that’s goal was all but impossible because Darragh didn’t even know how to hold the ball properly, much less connect with the ball.

Hero of the day

However, as Darragh stepped up to collect the ball, the defender, recognising that his team had put their thoughts of winning the game aside for this moment in Darragh’s life, moved backs few steps to let Darragh gather the ball so that he could at least make contact and have a clear shot on the goal. Darragh swung his right foot and hit a slow ground ball straight past the keeper into the bottom corner of the net. Everyone yelled and screamed, ‘Darragh, Darragh, Darragh, all the way, Darragh’ and he was cheered as the hero who scored the goal that won the game for his team.

That day the boys on both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world. Darragh didn’t make it to another summer and died this winter, having never forgotten being the hero, making his father so happy and coming home and seeing his mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Thought for the week
As your thought for the week, try to look at opportunities to realise true examples of how we can make life better as much as we can for other human beings and especially children in need in our beautiful country and world this Christmas and always. We can and we should.