The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“Broken hearts can forgive”: the reconciliation of Fr. Rob

4c250454c27fd.image.jpg How do you forgive the unforgivable?

Take a few moments, take a deep breath, and read this astonishing, beautiful, heartbreaking account of one man’s journey to the priesthood:

No street lights illuminate this winding, narrow road, but Rob Spaulding can see enough.


The car is facing the wrong direction, folded and bent at ugly angles where it hit the trees. Matty is lying on the side of the road.

Rob can’t see what Mark is doing, but he’s outside of the car, walking around.

Rob doesn’t remember how he got out.

We need an ambulance, Rob says into his cell phone.

One needs life support now.

Jared is still inside, slumped over the back of the driver’s seat. Rob reaches out to him and finds a pulse. He’s breathing, alive.

He kneels beside Matty and begins CPR.

Minutes earlier, Rob had been driving his friends around the lake, windows down, enjoying the midnight air. They had been promising young men, studying to become priests, passionate about their faith and the people they felt called to serve.


One reckless mistake destroyed nearly all of it.

But those of faith know that out of unthinkable sorrow, unimaginable love can grow.

Broken hearts can forgive.

Read on for the rest.  Have a tissue handy.  I suspect you’ve never read a vocation story quite like it.

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posted July 2, 2010 at 12:14 am

What an amazing story of redemption and resurrection. It brings to mind the renewal of our baptismal vows…”This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus.”
I am not sure, as a mother, that I could have the courage and faith to forgive as those mothers and fathers forgave, but I pray that I would.

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posted July 2, 2010 at 10:02 am

Were they all drinking?

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posted July 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

This very touching story of forgiveness and reconciliation brings hope into my life. Due to a very fragile mental health state I have struggled with forgiveness and my right to it. I have also struggled to forgive those who hurt me. I was told once that we don’t forgive for the other person’s sake but for our own. This article sheds an entirely different light on that assertion.

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