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Sheer Grace

Jonathan Rizzo, a graduate of Boston College High School, was stabbed to death in July 2001. His parents and two younger brothers were devastated by their loss. There the newspaper stories generally end.

But today's Boston Globe recounts how Jonathan's younger brother, Nick, is transforming grief into gift for others, taking a leave from Harvard to work in Rwanda. His mother, Mary comments:

"After Jonathan's death, I was petrified that Nick and Elliot (youngerbrother) would be bitter or angry or cynical to the world," says MaryRizzo. "But they aren't. That's what I'm most proud of, that they'vecontinued to share their hearts. They continue to believe thatkindness, compassion, and knowledge can make an important impact".

Read more here.

About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



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A wonderful story. Kudos to Nick Rizzo, of course, for stepping back from the tunnel vision of his daily life in school to see the big picture. His time and efforts in Rwanda honor his brother, but they'll also make him a better doctor. And his parents deserve great credit for raising sons who, in the face of tragedy, "continue to believe that kindness, compassion, and knowledge can make an important impact." Fr. Imbelli's caption--"Sheer Grace"--and the Rwanda connection to the story remind me of Immaculee Ilibagiza's book, "Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust." The author, from a devout Catholic family in Rwanda, lost many family members during the genocide, and she came close to losing her own. In simple and heartfelt words, she provides a remarkable testament to the growth of her faith in the face of pure evil, and to the healing power of forgiveness and compassion. There is much that she and the Rizzos share in common.

The best kept secret is that the practice of Chapter 13 of Corinthians I is the source of joy and life. The Good Samaritan was not just a heroically generous person but someone who was full of life as he loved all. Further in the case of Nick Rizzo and the woman who William Collier refers to, there is the growth that comes from crucifixion where life follows rather than death, redemption over despair and the earth is truly renewed.

How about let's give reporter Bella English some kudos here (since we were all willing to hop all over Ian Fisher at the NYT for his coverage of the Pope's Sacramentum Caritatus report)?This is a VERY hard story to write. English stays factual, uses concrete imagery and avoids bathos. She allows the grace in the story to emerge from the quantifiable facts. Like a good reporter, she lets the story pour through her and the grace of God that moves in Nick Rizzo to shine on you.Reporters do not discuss this with "outsiders" often--it's outside the realm of the factual--but there are stories where you know there is more at stake than accurately summarizing a report or outlining the possible ramifications of the parks and rec budget.It's why some reporters cling tenaciously to "difficult" stories. Like Ann Garrels at NPR, who has been trying to bring the condition of the Iraqi people to the forefront since the war in Iraq began four years ago.

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