This past Sunday, January 13th, our Paths confirmation program hosted Jacques Rivera as the keynote speaker. In 1988, Mr. Rivera was convicted of first degree manslaughter of a 15 year old teenager. The only evidence for the conviction was the word of a 12 year old boy who was coerced by a crooked Chicago policeman to falsely testify against Mr. Rivera. It was this young manʹs testimony, years later, in which he recanted his original testimony against Mr. Rivera that secured his release. Mr. Rivera, a married father of 3 children, was given an 85 year sentence at the Stateville Maximum Security Prison in Illinois. He talked of the humiliation he endured in prison, but also of the hope he found in a developing a life of faith that occurred during his incarceration. He spoke of small moments of grace where God assured him of his release that was orchestrated through the Northwestern University Innocence Project. This program has, through the pro bono work of lawyers, helped secure the release of numerous prisoners who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they didnʹt commit. Mr. Rivera kept the 400 attendees, parents, parishioners and candidates spellbound for 75 minutes as he recounted his life story and his eventual redemption and release from prison in 2011. Many lessons were evident in the eveningʹs presentation. Some prominent ones for our young people were to take oneʹs faith seriously and to develop a deep relationship with God. It can be a powerful source of courage in times of adversity. Another one was to pick your friends carefully. Some of the emotional moments for Mr. Rivera that brought him to tears were when he saw the short video clip on YouTube that led off the evening, showing the news of his release from prison. Another was when he talked about the deaths of his two lawyers, one to cancer and the other to being hit by a car. Overall, it was a memorable evening for our community that will remain with them.