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Priest donates kidney to parishioner

A Columbus Priest says God put an opportunity in front of him that he had to answer.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — As a priest, Father Christopher Wadelton knows all about helping people through tough times.  When one of his parishioners needed a kidney transplant, he wanted to help.

"Ask people around the congregation if they might consider being checked and just by the hand of God it turned out that I was a compatible donor," he told 13News while sitting on the front porch with Rebeca Barcenas and her two daughters.

"Did you ever believe it would be your priest,” 13News asked. “No," she answered with laughter.

She can smile about it now, but before the surgery she had little energy wasn't able to get out with her 9-year-old daughter Carmen when she wanted to jump on the trampoline. 16-year-old Jennifer noticed as well.

"There were days when she needed help or we needed to do something to help her," Jennifer Ventura observed.

But even after Father Chris came forward and was a match there were many other hurdles to clear.

How long did it take 13News asked, “like a year and a half,” she answered.

“They cancelled twice but I never lost my faith," Rebeca added.

“I did not want to get overly excited so if it didn't happen, I would not be so disappointed," Jennifer remembered.

On May 14th their faith was rewarded.

"God put an opportunity in front of me so I did my best to say yes," Father Christopher said.

"Living donor transplants normally last much longer and typically have a lot more function so you are feeling a whole lot better very fast," Dr. Asif Sharfuddin a transplant nephrologist with IU Health explained.

"God is with me I always say. God is with me and these marks and these marks are the proof God is with me so I never lose my faith. With God everything is possible," Rebeca concluded.

Does it make a difference if the priest who preaches the world actually lives by it 13News asked. “I think it does. He's really doing what God would want," Jennifer responded.

Father Chris has now moved on from St Philip Neri in Indianapolis where they all met to St Bartholomew in Columbus.  Rebeca often makes that trek to Columbus when she wants to hear the gospel from her angel.