Sarasota altar server has Vatican wish granted Print this post

Susan Laielli (Special to the Florida Catholic)


A teenage altar server at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota with only one wish has it granted by Make-a-Wish Foundation with a special party on March 2.

Silas Bichler, an altar server at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota who has cerebral palsy, is seen with Parish pastor Father Matthew Grady. Bichler has been granted a wish to see Pope Francis through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Make-a-Wish Foundation representatives joined Father Matt Grady, Pastor of Incarnation Parish, to officially grant 18-year old Silas Bichler his one and only request – a tour of the Vatican and a meeting with Pope Francis.

Silas, who was diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy, is an altar server, in the face of battling many challenges to complete duties others may take for granted. The simple acts of climbing the altar, holding a chalice, or lighting a candle are often difficult.

Silas’ mother, Tonia Bichler, said even when her son was very little he showed his devotion to the Catholic Mass.

“I remember at the age of five, Silas would be in his room acting out parts of the Mass, and today, he watches Masses from all over the world on his iPad,” Bichler said.

With the help of Make-a-Wish representatives in Italy, the Sarasota branch of the organization confirmed Silas will leave for Rome on March 11. On the agenda is experiencing an authentic Italian cooking class, a tour the Vatican, and the ultimately the chance to personally meet Pope Francis.

Silas, who has some difficulty expressing thoughts, had no trouble sharing how he feels about having his special wish granted by Make-a-Wish Foundation. “Pope Francis is waiting for me.”

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