Alma's life

My News

Tribute to Alfonso

18th December 2008

candles lit by Alfonso

Today marks the second anniversary of the passing of a dear friend of mine. His name was Alfonso.

Alfonso was in my life for only two short months but he blessed me so much during that short time and gave me a different outlook on life.

I got to know him through a gay Christian organization which he joined in October 2006. He was not a Christian, but he came to us because he had just found out he was HIV+, and as there is a great HIV/AIDS support group there, I had invited him to join us, so that he would receive the support he so badly needed.

A past work colleague of his (who was also a member there) had invited him to stay with him during this frightening time, and none of us knew how the story was going to unfold.

When arriving on the message boards, Alfonso was very moved that people who didn't know him at all had been praying for him, that people were welcoming him with open arms, that people were giving to someone they had never met before. As he told me, nobody had ever done anything for him before without expecting something in return. And here he was, receiving all this love so freely given, by people who simply wanted to be here for him, guided by God.

The HIV/AIDS Support group gave him so much support and helped calm his fears, while everyone else supported him through love and prayers.

Little by little, Alfonso came to see that the gift of hospitality from his friend and the love he was receiving from some of us were God driven. Little by little he opened himself to the idea of God, started to ask questions, to visit his local church, and even started to pray, being convinced that God would not know who he was, so he introduced himself to God.
He started lighting candles in church for his friends, as the two shown in the above photo.

It was amazing to witness the birth of a new faith, the childlike faith that Alfonso eventually found. It brought all of us so much joy, and made us realize that *this* is the faith we all should have, a Faith where one simply believes, and doesn't worry about all the questions they don't have an answer for. His words, in broken English as he was Italian, were

"I is investigate God".

And that he did, in the simplest of way... by simply opening his heart.

This wonderful story came to an abrupt end when on the 17th December, Alfonso suffered a massive heart-attack, caused it is believed by the powerful regimen of HIV medication he had started to take. His heart was irreversibly damaged, and we were told he wouldn't survive the night. That evening, Alfonso asked to be baptized and to receive the sacraments, after which he felt at peace, and said that he now was going to visit God in His Home. Sadly, he passed away in the early hours of the morning.

This was such a sad and painful time, and at the same time such a beautiful and joyful time, because our friend had found and welcomed Christ in his heart, and we know that while we miss him dearly now, one day we will see him again.

This is also a testament to the power of a group of LGBT Christians, who welcomed a non-believer with open arms, met him where he was at, and simply loved him, never trying to push anything on him, just wanting to be here for him.
It is through this community, and the hospitality of his friend that Alfonso found God.

I haven't stopped missing Alfonso since his passing. I miss his loving heart, his humour, his broken English. I always hold the candle he lit for me preciously in my heart, and his faith inspires me as much today as it did then.
But I know Heaven gained an angel that day, and I find joy in knowing that one day I will see my dear friend again.

Ti voglio bene carissimo Alfonso.