Something stood out more than the visiting Cardinal at last Sunday’s Mass. It was a young man in the first row. I watched him singing the opening hymn. He doesn’t sing like you and me. I’m not talking about his voice. I couldn’t even hear him over all the other voices. It was his demeanor, his expression, his joy. He sang as if there was but a single person in the entire Church: Jesus. This young man sang with an unrestrained jubilation for the gift of his life to the giver of that gift, God. His arms waved. His head bobbed. He poured all the love in his heart, which I suspect is a lot, toward heaven. He had to be in the first pew, because he needed quite a bit of space to move around. He just had that much love of life in him that a single pew would probably cramp his style! I couldn’t believe it. And then he turned. I could see the side of his face …

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My nephew, Danny, has an extra chromosome. He has a condition known as Downs Syndrome. He has survived heart surgeries and leukemia, which are more common with Downs children than the general population. To compensate for the physical and mental afflictions associated with Downs, God has given these children an extra chromosome, known as the “love chromosome.” Danny is the happiest guy I know. It seems to be a common trait among those with Downs …

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