Bulletin, Tragic News

By Charlie Johnston

I was looking forward to giving you a full and happy update on Joseph Cronin on Monday. Tomorrow afternoon, I was scheduled to visit with the Cronins at their New Jersey home. While Joseph was still in a coma, he had gotten strong enough to be cared for at home – and returning home had been doing him good. His father, George, had been encouraged that Joseph was getting notably more responsive to things happening around him. The family had great hope that he would emerge from the coma intact.

George called me this morning in tears. Joseph has died.

Young Joe Cronin

Young Joe Cronin

The great tragedy is that it was nothing organic. A nurse made an error while changing a tube, Joseph started gasping in distress and they were not getting it fixed. They had to call an ambulance. Joseph died in the hospital.

I will still visit with the Cronins tomorrow afternoon – but to grieve with them. George was emphatic he wanted me to come. I was with him through a great trial, and it is proper we should grieve with each other at this abrupt, unexpected ending.

I will write about this Monday or Tuesday. I am very shaken right now. I had long looked forward to meeting Joseph in this life. I know he now looks after us from the next. Thank all of you for raising to give that boy and his family a chance to live or die as God willed, not as the state did.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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103 Responses to Bulletin, Tragic News

  1. I do not know what to say, Charlie. Please let the family know that we are praying for them and the soul of this precious child. God bless the Cronin family.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marita says:

    My deepest sympathy and condolences to the Cronin family. I feel the Holy Spirit impressing upon me the need to pray for the nurse who made the mistake that led to his death. God bless you Charlie in this most difficult ministry you will be providing. Eternal rest grant unto Joseph, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mary N says:

    My heart goes out to the Cronin family as they mourn the loss of their son. I will remember them in my prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mack says:

    Praying for Joseph and family. How sad this is. But perhaps the offering of his life joined to Jesus’s own sacrifice will win grace for others to weather the Storm.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. cathyg2015 says:

    So heartsick over this, Charlie. Please rest assured that Joey, his family and you will especially be remembered in my prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ann Albee says:

    Such a tragic loss. Will remember him in my rosay this evening.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Very sorry says:

    I am very sorry to hear about Joseph. I also wanted to bring attention to another individual who is probably grieving horribly too, right along with the family… the nurse. Please pray for this individual who probably went into health care with noble intentions of helping those in need. I know how making a mistake can be deadly. But many, many times it is just that, a mistake. I work in health care and to know that you unintentionally caused harm, especially harm that resulted in death, follows you around day in and day out. It hurts your soul. This nurse will never get over what has happened and neither will the family. So many fall into despair. Please, pray for EVERYONE in this case. EVERYONE needs prayers.

    Liked by 5 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you. I was talking on the phone with one of my priests this afternoon and asked for prayers for the nurse, as well. This will undoubtedly sear her for a very long time – and it is clear it is not what she intended. She will suffer over this and very much needs all our prayers.

      Liked by 5 people

      • donna says:

        Charlie:
        I was at your talk last night and it was wonderful….I brought 3 friends and we talked non
        stop about everything on the way home….I wanted to quietly approach you, as a nurse,
        that this person will live with this horrible mistake the rest of their life and needs our prayers….most people can make big mistakes at their jobs and they do not carry the weight a mistake a nurse makes….human error. Horrible, but sad and life changing for all. Prayers for the Cronin family. Hopefully you can bring them some solace today.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Kris R. says:

    Please intercede for us dear Joseph. Thank you to the Cronin family for allowing the Next Right Step family to be part of your family. May God comfort you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Caroline says:

    I haven’t posted in months. But this has brought me to tears. I am a nurse. And a mother of young children as well. I promise to keep them all in my prayers. May they know the Father’s presence.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mtrettel says:

    My heart aches for the tragic loss of Joseph Cronin. Today we buried my beloved mother. She was a young 70, but lung cancer took her from us. I have already asked her to seek Joseph out in heaven. I feel confident the two of them will unite to intercede for us here on earth, the church militant! Nothing can prepare us for the loss of dearly beloved. I have been praying for Joseph and called the hospital last winter when the calls needed to be blasted in! I am so sorry for the painful loss the Cronin family is enduring at this time. God rest his soul!

    Like

  11. mtrettel says:

    Today we buried my beloved mother. Lung cancer took her from us at the young age of 70. I have been praying for Joseph and his family ever since we were alerted to his need. I have already asked my mother to seek him out. I am confident that they share an eternal home in heaven. Intercede for us here on earth, the church militant! God rest Joseph’s soul and the soul of my mother Luann. The church triumphant is swelling with Saints, and man do we need them! I will certainly pray for the nurse as well!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Mary W. says:

    How this news breaks our hearts and how we pray for Joe’s soul and the consolation of his family and the nurse. May we believe that the Lord allowed this tragedy for a higher purpose, His purpose. May we believe that Joe was spared the Storm and that his intercession for those of us left behind be efficacious.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anne says:

    Dear Jesus….. Give all grace, give abundant love and strength to all the Cronin family and to the nurse and all her family too. Completly uphold all in their time of great need.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. barb129 says:

    Please pray for us dear Joseph. May our dear Lord and His most Blessed Mother surround his family with their peace and comfort…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Vanessa says:

    My heart grieves. How tragic. Without a doubt, those whom we love and lose are no longer with us , but our in hearts and with us wherever we are.
    ( paraphrase Saint John of Chrystom )
    Prayers and love for Joseph and his family .

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Serendipity says:

    Charlie, I am so sorry. I haven’t posted in months but this is such a shock, a stab to the heart. I was so sure that he was going to wake up and be better, but as always, God’s ways are not our ways. Joseph is well now. But before he left us he became a great sign of hope, showing us the power of prayer in action; a lesson we surely needed to see as we head out into the murky waters of the storm. A tragic ending in our human eyes but a life that gave great glory to God. I praise you heavenly Father for the life of Joseph Cronin and I pray that you grant peace and solace to his family and also to the nurse who is surely devastated.
    My prayers and my heart go out to the Cronin family and to everyone here -seen and unseen.
    Serendipity.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. dolordee says:

    Sweet, sweet little boy. It is so hard to even look at his smiling face on his picture without crying and feeling such deep loss. Praying for consolation for all and grace to accept Gods will.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. the phoenix says:

    I have been remembering to pray for Joseph Cronin recently and am saddened to hear this news. More prayers on the way, and condolences to his family.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. jules says:

    Praying for whole family and the nurse too Gods healing comforting touch in this time of sorrow

    Like

  20. anne ovari says:

    My heart broke when I read the news of Joe’s passing. I pray for the repose of Joe’s soul ,for Jesus’ peace for the Cronin family, for the poor nurse and for you Charlie for tomorrow. I’m sure you will bring much comfort to Susan,George and their family. God bless

    Like

  21. naughtd0tty says:

    Praying for Joe and his family!

    Like

  22. Jacquie says:

    Charlie,
    I left you an email for the Cronin’s last night. Did you see it?
    J

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Sorry Jacquie…I have not. I have several hundred emails to get through right now – and no time at all until Tuesday. I will certainly be carrying the prayers and condolences of everyone here when I visit them this afternoon – and will forward any such messages to George and Susan after that.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Monica Joseph of the Blessed Sacrament, OCDS says:

    Prayers for the family, the nurse, and all touched by this heartbreaking situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. gharbs says:

    My heart sunk when I read the news about Joey. He is dear to my heart, as I have a 15 year old son who suffered an anoxic brain injury at two years old and is profoundly disabled and we were given the same prognosis as the Cronin family. I’m glad they/we fought for his life, I’m glad they got to hold him and love him, and I’m so sad for this end. I think I know exactly what happened if it was a trach change ūüėĒ. Very sad for all, but I must admit, when I read about the Storm, I just look to the Hesvens and ask the Lord his can I possibly card for this child with his intense needs, how Lord? And I don’t get an answer. So I’m glad Joey is safely home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mick says:

      Prayers for your dear son, and for you, Gharbs. May God bless your family and carry you all safely through the Storm.

      Like

  25. mtrettel says:

    My apologies for duplicating my message earlier. I just noticed that I have two postings , very similar and back to back ,from last night. I thought I messed up on the first one so I posted a second. Now I can see I didn’t make a mistake after all! Live and learn!
    God bless all!

    Like

  26. Doug says:

    Sorry to hear. Kids are so precious. I can’t imagine losing one. Will offer prayers.

    Like

  27. Johnny apep says:

    Well… this certainly helps to confirm my faith of atheism. I was really rooting for this kid. I actually found this blog through google while reading other news articles on joey and checked back only and specifically to see how joey was doing as I had a family member go through something very similar. I was very happy to see that the family wouldn’t let the evil (probably foreign) doctors kill him and sell his organs to China and I really wanted this kid to be the poster child for not pulling the plug on people. You know what’s funny? I thought jesus (the .1 percent of me that suspends disbelief) was sadistic then and now I feel that way all over again. Honestly I probably felt like that the whole time only I didn’t think about it enough to have that be an actual thought. The fact that horrible things seem to continuously reinforce my position of atheism is almost an argument for there being “something”? Only I wouldn’t make that argument because it would put me along the side of everyone else who makes ridiculous arguments for religion like..We can’t see god? maybe he doesn’t want to be seen. Bad things happen to children? well he works in “mysterious” (sadistic) ways. The bible is scientifically inaccurate? It’s metaphorical. there’s nothing and no argument that makes people take the much more rational position that we’re here ALL ALONE. If god exists he killed your child Mr. Cronin… time to turn in the bible.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I edited out your vulgar profanity, but let the rest of this stand. If the only good you can see is this world, I can’t help your impoverished viewpoint. I will tell you this: God did not kill Joey – he lives and is even now praying for you to see beyond the here and now. Joey brought a lot of people together to fight the culture of death. If you cannot believe in God because there are seemingly senseless tragedies, then you were never going to see any further anyway.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Alphonsus says:

      Johnny, you are self-confirming in your atheism. It’s all on you, as is the great wrong you have done by trying to make the deep sorrow and tragedy of the Cronin family a reason and excuse for it.

      Like

    • Lin says:

      Johnny,
      I know life can seem very dark.
      But does Joey’s death really confirm that God is sadistic or doesn’t exist?
      After all, we all die eventually. But God is so powerful and merciful that He restores all in the end, and even more than we can think or imagine.
      I hear your heaviness of heart..would you consider reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis? It makes for great summer reading!
      Please ignore the new-fangled numbering in the series read them in the original order:

      The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
      Prince Caspian
      Voyage of the Dawn Treader
      The Silver Chair
      The Horse and His Boy
      The Magician’s Nephew
      The Last Battle
      Your local library probably carries these titles.
      Peace to you!

      Liked by 2 people

      • anne ovari says:

        Johnny, I am going to pray for you. I hope that one day you will come to see that we are not all alone in this world and that you are truly loved by an awesome Father.

        Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Well Johnny, while I would not take anything back I said yesterday, I think I was a bit too harsh and missed something important. I am grieving over something that I have been intensely engaged with and you came and slapped me in my grief, so I slapped back. But it was your grief that led you to do it.

      There is clearly a part of you that wants to believe – and so the bizarre death of Joey was a cause of grief and the evidence that God, at the very least, is not as you expect, is a profound source of grief for you, too. If this world is all there is for us, you would be right that God is sadistic. But just as when you are born to this world you die to the womb so we believe that when the just die to this world they are born to heaven.

      I would not endeavor to try to prove that particular belief for you but there are two things that I think you, an honest atheist, can do that can help you live in an unjust world with some peace and joy. First, none of us can control whether others will be just or kind…and so injustice is always with us. But we can choose who we are going to be, whether to add to the total of injustice and sorrow or to try to soothe it. You obviously respect and value life. Do what you can to ease the burden of those around you – and even as an atheist you will find joy (and the stirrings of a sense of God, I must tell you. Rob Sherman, who was the national spokesman for the American Atheists in the late 80s and early 90s, is a friend – and we were close, but argumentative, for almost a decade).

      Second, if you want, I even have a prayer you can say that might introduce you to God. It is simply, “God, if you are there at all, please show me.” You don’t have to mention it to anyone, just say it with sincerity once or twice a day. So, my suggestion for you is very much the same as for all here…take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. If you do just these things, the world will be a better place for you having passed through.

      Finally, I offer to you this piece I wrote several years ago in the aftermath of the tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma. It may help, it may not…but here it is.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Alphonsus says:

        No reply to this statement by Johnny could be too harsh.

        “If god exists he killed your child Mr. Cronin‚Ķ time to turn in the bible.”

        That is a dastardly thing to say on every level, particularly at this site where at least one Cronin family member has visited and posted.

        I won’t say anything more about this in the future. But I did feel compelled to make that point.

        Like

      • Johnny apep says:

        Hey Charlie. I don’t think you were too harsh. I definitely respect you for being optimistic enough to believe in god. I guess I am just too cynical for it though. I have, previously, tried the prayer of “god are you there?” (I mean why not there’s nothing to lose) and I always come up empty handed. One time I even tried really hard and I basically got a non-audible voice in my head that sounded like my thoughts filtered through the voice of Mufasa from the lion king after he dies and talks to Simba – so clearly I was taking to myself in a caricature manner of what I would expect god to sound like as this “voice” provided no new information and nothing insightful or even dissimilar to me. Maybe it’s because I am such a logic oriented person. I would need god to say something new to me which was definitely different than me talking to myself in some ridiculous voice. My logic tells me that if god was around he could have let this kid grow up, get married, have children etc. and no matter what I can’t see the logic of this otherwise. I do, however, completely agree with “not adding to injustice.” I’m not completely sure what you were getting at there but, to me, justice would be having those doctors, or better yet their children, in a very compromised state and then pulling the plug on them. I wonder if they would feel that giving up on people is the best option if it were their ten year old in that position. Something tells me not. I’ve also met a lot of really bad people who are christian so that is likely souring my perspective and therefore my capacity to believe. I see most people using religion as a social bargaining chip – similar to politicians. People add being a phony christian to being a pretend non-racist and a fake hard worker because that image is the easiest route to go to get what they want from a selfish and financial standpoint. It widens their network, gets them votes, solicits free help which they would not otherwise have, gets them undeserved praise, gets them undeserved recognition etc.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Well, after I thought of it, I realized that whatever you think, your original comment was also a cry of agonized grief. I often tell people that they think if only they could see, they would do, but it is exactly the opposite. We know what we should do…so we must do, and as we get the capacity for it, we will begin to see. For whatever reason, after I struck out at you in anger, I got the feeling that you have the beginnings of someone who could make a difference. I ask you, Johnny, though you cannot do the acknowledge God part sincerely, do take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those right around you with steadfast resolve throughout these next few years and you will do much good in terrible times. Truly, we can do little to stop people from adding to the sum total of human misery, but we are in near complete control of whether we are going to add to it or not. And you might try a little indirection. I sure would appreciate it if, when you can bring yourself to it, you say a quiet little prayer on my behalf.

          Like

          • anne ovari says:

            Charlie, I wasn’t sure where to post what I am about to share, so please put it where you think best. I thought it would be good for Johnny, who posted above, to see but also for as many others as possible as well.
            Just a short explanation first. You may remember, Charlie, that my son Joseph and I have been writing to Joe and his Mum,Susan. She told me that when she read my Joe’s letters to her Joe he always responded in some way. That always filled me with such great hope so the news of his death was really devastating.
            Susan invited me onto her Facebook page so we have stayed in touch that way as well. She wrote and shared something the other day that was so profound and powerful that I asked her permission (which she gracefully granted ) to share it with you ,Charlie and everyone who reads here. I am feeling quite emotional as I write this and feel privileged to share the following:
            Susan posted a photo of a school assignment Joseph had written a month before his asthma attack. This is what he wrote :
            “I have lied, stolen,sinned, and even at times cheated in 4th grade, but my friends don’t care about it cause they’re awesome people who I can trust and I know Jesus is forgiving, and so I have trusted my soul to him,as I have the right to believe he’s real!
            Remember! Jesus loves everyone!!! :)”
            Susan then went on to say: “So in honour of Joseph, please remember: Jesus is real and He loves you. Don’t over-think it,don’t analyse, just know it.” She also wrote:”Joseph never questioned, never wondered, never wavered. He knew. He didn’t believe, he KNEW. So, from my 12 year old son, who wanted to be a priest and lead people to Jesus, I convey this message on the eve of his funeral- Jesus is real. He forgives you. He loves everyone.”
            Nothing else needs to be said. God bless everyone.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Petra says:

            anne ovari: Thank you for sharing Susan Cronin’s post, because it has brought me great consolation to know that Joey had great faith in and had trusted his soul to Jesus. That is very powerful for a young man like him. I didn’t know he wanted to be a priest, and that too is consoling. I hope Susan Cronin reads here at least sometimes, so she knows we all prayed God would keep Joey here until he was an old man, are sorry that God chose to take him home, and we continue to pray for him and her whole family.
            I love that Susan asks that to honor Joey we believe like him with the faith of a child that Jesus is real and that He loves us, without overthinking or analyzing it. It is a wonderful testament to her lovely boy. May he rest in peace.

            Like

          • Johnny apep says:

            I can try some prayer for you Charlie. I do once in a while privately. Only privately because I seem to exist in some phenomenon that says that I need some proof that there is a god before I am openly religious/spiritual – but I really would like to get that proof for myself. I just don’t want it to feel like a lie that I am telling myself. I suppose I would feel embarrassed or something if I said I was religious before I actually had any proof? I’m not sure – I’m really not. However, you are correct about my original comment being a cry of agony. I had a nearly identical (right down to watching the event unfold) situation as the Cronins with a very close family member and I did not have the legal clout to get that person the time and care I wanted for them. They essentially sedated this person to death at the hospital and withdrew care within a week. That’s why I initially started following this blog.Your original article stated that Joey’s parents watched him gasp for air during an asthma attack and then he fell unconscious. Then, obviously, they fought the hospital to keep his care and I wanted him to make a full recovery for himself and his family but also admittedly so that I could take the blog article and rub his recovery in the face of the people who authorized pulling the plug on my family member. When that didn’t happen and he passed I was quite angry. As far as prayer goes, What do you interpret as validation that god is really there Charlie? an audible voice? a feeling? something you see? maybe I am looking for the wrong signs? Also, why do you say that the next few years will be terrible? I mean I feel the same way (the past year has certainly been terrible) because of what I went through but I am curious as to why you said that. I secretly wish for the end of the world often so I can have a guiltless way to join my family member. Also, I don’t want Mr. Cronin to stop being religious if it is something that gives him comfort. It’s just so senseless that this little boy and a member of my family basically suffocated to death – the prospect of that seems utterly terrifying to me.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            I am so sorry for that terrible, unjust loss you suffered, Johnny. The culture of death has made dark nihilists of many who have much better instincts. Your devotion to life and justice are profound gifts that, though not valued in this toxic culture, are the seeds of great theological virtues. I am going to contemplate on this a while – and then send you a note. Give me a few days.

            Like

        • marie says:

          Dear Johnny, your most recent comment has brought tears to my eyes.

          I’m so sorry about the agonising death of your family member.

          I am praying for you. You’re now part of my territory of souls on this blog. I hope that’s ok with you. We’re all praying for each other here. If you would, please say a brief prayer for us too.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Another Karen says:

      Johnny,

      I am praying for your healing and the ability to feel the love of God. The fact that you found this blog and all of us here may be the gift from God that you need to believe in Him. Praise God for that! You obviously want to believe, and that is a great start. You are not alone! God is with you and we are with you. I’m glad that you have continued to follow this blog despite your doubts, and I truly hope that all of the prayers and support you get here will help bring you comfort. Continue to persevere and to post here. Welcome!

      Like

  28. anne ovari says:

    God bless you Petra.I also felt great consolation from Susan’s post and felt glad that Joseph had left this world with such love and trust in Jesus. I thought it was beautiful that Joseph had wanted to be a priest. His words were like a homily. I had hoped my son and Joe would have eventually communicated with one another but that wasn’t meant to be. We can certainly ask Joseph to pray for us all.

    Like

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