ALS Advocacy

ALS Advocacy
Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

There Are Big Lessons In Small Places

Last week was the big 27th International Symposium on ALS/MND in Dublin.  It is an intense few days.  There were 1100 people registered, mostly neuroscientists, clinical specialists, organizational employees, and a scant number of unaffiliated people with ALS and caregivers.

I learned.  I learned a lot there.

Less than a five-minute walk from the gorgeous Dublin Convention Centre on the Liffey was the small, old church of Saint Laurence O'Toole.

I learned there, too, in the shadow of the grand symposium.

When I arrived at the quiet little church, there were a few elderly folks already waiting for Mass to
start.  A couple of rolling walkers were stored behind their pews. Some younger adults trickled in.  Finally a line of very young lads and their teachers streamed in and sat in the front pews. The priest welcomed the boys studying for their first communions and prepared to start Mass.

I was relieved.  The homily wouldn't be overly long and wouldn't be all about Saint Augustine's or Kierkegaard's arcane philosophy lessons.  This day we were going to be geared for the kids.  It's not that I can't grasp complicated philosophy and theology.  It's that sometimes we need to take the shortest, clearest route from theory to practice, and that's the route that children's liturgies usually take.

And it takes a smart person to distill complicated lessons into those clear, direct paths.

As Mass began, Father also welcomed the shut-ins who were watching and praying with us on the internet.  This little church had a web stream for those who couldn't be there.

Yes, I learned at a tiny, old church in the shadow of the grand symposium of esteemed and ambitious scientists.

We could all learn.

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