Boy, 8, called a 'distraction' during Holy Communion 'deserved to celebrate his special day'

Hayley Bradley's son Bobby receiving Holy Bread from Parish Priest. Rev Richard Ebo
-Credit: (Image: Hayley Bradley)

A boy who had his Holy Communion "ruined" by a Liverpool Priest “should have been treated the same as everyone else”.

Hayley Bradley, from Scotland Road, claims her son, Bobby, who has ASD and learning difficulties, was discriminated against during his Holy Communion at Liverpool’s St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

The mum-of-three claims she was asked to return to the church the following day, Friday, May 24, because eight-year-old Bobby was "a distraction to the other kids" during the religious ceremony. Hayley said she believes this to be a reference to the "beautiful noises" Bobby makes because of his ASD.

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The full-time carer told the ECHO: “We were all prepared to have the Holy Communion on Thursday so we said no. I told them Bobby was doing it today with all the other kids, he has been friends with those kids for years.

“We were all dressed up, we had a meal booked - it was a special day for us but it was horrendous how the day went. It was a terrible experience. It was heartbreaking for us, people were crying after it because of how Bobby was treated.

"It was a gut-wrenching feeling. The pain felt like a kick to my heart. I found myself in shock and disbelief."

In preparation for the day, Hayley and Bobby had been attending meetings four weeks prior so that Bobby “could get used to the church”.

Hayley had also been teaching Bobby, who is non-verbal, to say Amen for when he received the Holy Bread. However, Hayley claims the requests made to make the ceremony more accessible for Bobby were also "not done properly".

Hayley has since filed a complaint with The Archdiocese of Liverpool, which St Anthony’s Catholic Church falls in the purview of, about the claimed treatment. A spokesperson for The Archdiocese of Liverpool confirmed to the ECHO it was aware of the allegations and is currently investigating them.

Liverpool ECHO readers said it was “disgusting” how Bobby was treated on his special day.

Hayley Bradley's son Bobby with his friend Kevie
Hayley Bradley with her son Bobby at his Holy Communion at St. Anthonys Catholic Church.

Tammy Ellison said: “Absolutely disgusting for Bobby to be treated this way. Bobby deserves to be treated fairly like any other child, he deserves to celebrate his special day.”

Tara Kelly added: “What self-respecting adult would make any child feel that way! As if you couldn't just let him make the noises in peace I doubt he was hurting anyone probably just soothing himself in a stressful situation.”

Tracy Garner said: “Disgusting shame on u and the church for treating this little boy who has special needs like that. I know what it’s like having a disabled child and labelling them in that way shame on you.”

Amanda Owen wrote: “I can understand this as my daughter was autistic and I remember the vicar commenting ‘do be quiet Megan’ in front of the whole service. People don’t realise how hard it is for the mother and father.”

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