A NJ mother says a priest kicked her 7-year-old son who has autism out of his sister's baptism for being a 'distraction'
- Julia Vicidomini said in a now-deleted Facebook post seen by NBC News that a priest at Christ the King
Churchin Hillsdale, New Jersey, kicked her son out of a private baptism for her daughter.
- Vicidomini said her son Nicholas, who has
autismand is non-verbal, was told to leave after dropping a toy during the service.
- She said the priest later told her husband that Nicholas had distracted him.
- The Archdiocese of Newark apologized on behalf of the priest's behavior in a statement to Insider.
A mother in New Jersey says a priest kicked her 7-year-old son who has autism out of his sister's baptism for being a "distraction."
Julia Vicidomini told NBC News that her family was at Christ the King Church in Hillsdale, New Jersey, on Saturday for a private baptism of their daughter, Sofia, when the incident occurred.
She said she did not tell the priest ahead of time that her son, Nicholas, has autism because she didn't think she needed to. Vicidomini has two older children that are both 16.
But, according to a now-deleted Facebook post from Vicidomini seen by NBC
Vicidomini said the priest was "rude and disrespectful," and said to her: "Don't bring your child to church to distract me."
"This could have been handled in a different way," Vicidomini wrote. "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."
Her husband, Marc, later told the priest that Nicholas was non-verbal, and explained his autism.
"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," Vicidomini wrote in the Facebook post, according to the New York Post. "Instead of apologizing [the priest] began to try to justify the reason he kicked our child out, again saying he was distracting him."
Christ the King Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, though the Archdiocese of Newark apologized on behalf of the priest's behavior.
"The pastor was unaware that the sibling playing in a nearby candle room during the ceremony has autism. 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," the archdiocese said in a statement to Insider.
The organization said its Office for Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities has contacted the Vicidomini family to "ensure that there is greater awareness in working with individuals with disabilities and their families."
Vicidomini told NBC that she is still waiting for an apology from the priest.
Insider has contacted Vicidomini for comment. She told ABC 7 NY that despite going to the church since childhood, she has no plans of returning.
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