HILLSDALE, NJ – The mother of an autistic New Jersey boy claims he was kicked out of their family church by a priest because he was a distraction.
The event happened as Julia Vicidomini was at the church with her family for the baptism of her daughter. During the ceremony, her son Nicholas, who has autism was occupying himself with comfort toys in an adjacent candle room in the church when he dropped one, making a noise.
Rev. Luke Duc Tran told the boy to leave the church.
“Out!” he said, “This church is not for play.”
“This could have been handled in a different way, mom Julia said. “We don’t speak to Nicholas that way and it was unprofessional and unkind for the priest to do so. He should have addressed us as the parents, not Nicholas. The priest began to raise his voice and told my husband that Nicholas should not have been playing in church and that it was a distraction to him.”
The church later apologized for the treatment of the boy, according to the Arch Diocese of Newark.
“The pastor was unaware that the sibling playing in a nearby candle room during the ceremony has autism,” read a statement from the church. “The pastor did not understand the child’s behavior, he felt unprepared to respond appropriately, and his reaction to the situation was not pastoral.”