I had a strange encounter this morning: just before 9 am, as I was walking along deMaisonneuve boulevard on my way to Fort street, I found myself suddenly face to face with a young man with olive skin, muscular build and an earring. We were just walking in opposite directions on the sidewalk when he looked me in the face, then glanced an inch or two down at my collar, and then suddently he was *in* my face shouting “WHY WON’T THEY STOP F****** WITH ME?” I was rather taken aback, so I didn’t say anything, so he grabbed me by my arms, shouted the same line, and pushed me into the street! Happily (1) there was no traffic at that moment, and (2) I did not lose my balance, so I hopped back onto the sidewalk, just for him to do it again! I got back on the sidewalk a second time, and as he got close I stepped back and told him “Don’t touch me, sir!” He hesitated, and I put some distance between us. He then decided to continue on his way, muttering to himself as he went.
The poor fellow is obviously mentally ill, and as I have learned from my time working at the hospital, the visible presence of a priest often causes some sort of reaction in those suffering from some sort of psychosis. I mean, I knew already that the presence of a priest leaves no one indifferent, but I never expected this! Please pray for this young man!