The suicide jumper at the Vessel in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards was a former high-school rugby star and “tough kid, not afraid of anything,’’ his ex-coach told The Post on Sunday.
“He is seemingly the most unlikely of cases for suicide,’’ Simon Perry said of Peter DeSalvo, 19, a Sacred Heart University freshman from Basking Ridge, NJ, who leaped to his death from the artistic new landmark around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
The teen’s parents “are the nicest people, absolute sweethearts. He was their only child,’’ added the high school coach, his voice breaking. “He was doing great in school. He was playing rugby at Sacred Heart. I’m going to ask to have Pete’s jersey retired.’’
A law-enforcement source said that according to video and witnesses at the tourist-mobbed site, the teen was by himself when he “got on a railing and jumped off from the sixth floor” of the West 33rd Street structure, also known as “The Hive” because of its beehive-like appearance.
“He didn’t say anything to anybody,’’ the source said of DeSalvo.
The source added that the teen’s family has no idea why he killed himself and that he had no note on him.
Perry, whose son played with DeSalvo, called the tragic teen “seemingly a very well-adjusted kid.
“He was a terrific lineman. Not flash, just got on with business,” the grieving coach said of DeSalvo, who also played football for Ridge High School in the town.
Mendham high school senior Matt LaRosa captain of lacrosse team hung himself (I believe) after going out with friends New Years Eve. Found New Years Day. Funeral at St Joe’s Mendham. His girlfriend .broke up with him 2 weeks before?
Then there’s Katie White
There have been 5 suicides in roughly ONE MONTH time in the are of Basking Ridge.
There seems to be no empirical cause of the teen suicides. The families of all are “religious.” They are all good performing students. Parents are not separated. They seem to be well adjusted, socially involved and accepted.
The metaphor that comes to mind is “the canary in the coal mine.” Sensitive to noxious gas, coal miners bring the canaries into the mines as tell tales of gas build up. If the canary dies, the miners are out fast. Our young people are the canaries. They cannot seem to find meaning in the present culture.
I yield to Julian Carron, successor to Luigi Giussani and present leader of Communion and Liberation. Carron sketches his response in terms of Pope Francis: “If you don’t think Francis is the cure, you don’t grasp the disease.” He says:
The first thing I’d say is that we have to start by recognizing the real nature of the challenge we’re facing. One can’t understand the full dimensions of what Francis is doing if you don’t grasp the nature of what’s happening, the ‘epochal change.’ If your diagnosis doesn’t take that into account, certain gestures of this pope may not go down well. If you begin to understand the depths of the crisis, however, you’ll broaden your horizons and begin to see certain gestures as a prophetic response to this new situation.
I get that many people are upset and puzzled by the pope, as were people in Jesus’ time by him – especially, let’s remember, the more ‘religious’ people. For example, the Pharisees, failing to see the full drama of the human situation facing them, wanted a preacher simply to tell people what to do, to put heavy burdens on them. That wasn’t enough to give humanity a new start, and then Jesus arrived and entered the house of Zacchaeus, without calling him a sinning thief, and that could have seemed too weak. Instead, no one ever challenged Zacchaeus the way Jesus did just by entering his house. All those others who condemned his way of life didn’t move him an inch from his position. It was that absolutely gratuitous gesture of Jesus that succeeded where others failed.
What’s going to work to change a society like the one we’re living in? It’s got to be the method Jesus used with Zacchaeus. [With Pope Francis], we have to recall the way that many well-off people, sincere religious believers, reacted to Jesus. For them, the way Jesus operated was considered a source of scandal, in the strongest sense of the word, as an obstacle to belief.
Are you saying that those faithful Catholics who criticize Pope Francis, for instance over Amoris Laetitia, haven’t understood what’s at risk in this culture?
I think so. I think what’s missing sometimes is a deep understanding of the human challenge we’re facing. Sometimes [critics] just want [the pope] to repeat certain phrases, certain concepts, but they’re empty for most people and have been for a long time. Or, they want a list of rules to follow, as if that’s going to heal the human person or lead anyone to ‘verify’ the faith in their experience. The problem, and we suffer from it too, is that often we’re not able to transmit faith in the future to our colleagues at work, to our friends. Only if we’re audacious about recognizing the situation, without always feeling the need to defend ourselves, maybe we’ll learn something.
Of course, what worries some people is that when Jesus met Zacchaeus, the point was to get him to change his heart. Today, some worry that the pope, along with some priests and bishops, are engaging in ‘encounter’ without the same expectation of conversion from the errors they’re committing.
Conversion doesn’t depend on the act, it depends on us. When we go to meet a thief, we bring ourselves to that encounter. Jesus had no problem going to the house of Zacchaeus, without explaining all his theology or moral rules. He went because the truth was incarnate in his person. The problem is, what people are meeting when they meet us? If what they meet in you is simply a manual of things to do, they already know that and they’re still not able to do it. But if they find themselves in front of a person who offers love, they’ll start wanting to follow that person and be like them, which is what happened to Jesus.
I suspect many would grant that we can’t start with the rules, but what worries people is whether we’re ever going to get to them at all.
If a person falls in love, at a certain point that happens naturally. When you get married and are really in love, it’s just natural to want to clean the house, to put together a nice lunch, and so on. The problem now is that people aren’t meeting someone for whom it seems to make sense to invest themselves like that. An ethical code isn’t that kind of encounter.
To get concrete, lots of people inspired by Pope Francis today say the Church needs to accompany the LGBT community, for instance, or divorced and civilly remarried believers, and we do it regularly. But what critics would say is, doesn’t that have to involve at some point telling them that their behavior has to change?
I’ll respond with an example. Too often, we think the choices come down to either saying nothing or being ambiguous. I knew a group of couples, families, that involves about 18 to 20 families, and no one is married, all for different reasons, sometimes with understandable reasons. Some of our families involved in Communion and Liberation spent time with them, without saying anything about their ‘irregular’ situation. Over time, they all got married! They found themselves in front of people who were living family life in a way that just couldn’t leave them indifferent. In the end, they all got married not because someone explained the rules or Christian doctrine on marriage, but because they didn’t want to lose what they saw alive in these other families.
In Christianity, the truth has been made flesh. You only understand the full dimensions of this truth made flesh by meeting and watching a witness. The whole Christmas liturgy is about the fullness of God becoming visible. If it hadn’t become visible, we would never have understood it … that’s the great challenge.
It’s useless to ask others if they’re everything they’re supposed to be. The real question is, are we convincing witnesses to the faith? Do we still believe in the disarmed beauty of the faith? A person who’s in love will know what to do, and you fall in love through meeting someone. That’s what made the experience of Jesus a ‘Copernican revolution’ for humanity.’
Blogger: The real point is whether we are an experience for others. I means as Jesus was an experience for all the people. The gospel these days speaks about crowds, and crowds of people drowning Christ. They have the Law, the Temple and the Prophets. But they want the Person of Christ, and they give Him no rest – because no one has spoken as He has. He has healed them. And we have the power to heal them. And they come and just want to touch the tassel or hem of the cloak Thie has to be you by your persistent giving of yourself. People are not looking for religion. They are looking for the real thing in the human. They are looking for the meaning of being a human being. And that is the gift of self.