“Today is like Christmas”: 12 Individuals Receive Sacraments at Annual Special Needs Mass
“Even though it is just the first Sunday of Advent… today is like Christmas,” proclaimed Bishop Caggiano to the 12 young people from eight parishes who received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion. “This is one of the most important days of your life,” he said. “Thank you for saying ‘yes’ to Jesus.”
Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano presided at the annual Mass Celebrating People with Special Needs, hosted by Saint Catherine Center at Holy Cross Church on Sunday, December 2nd.
Members of the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, Center board members, and staff joined the celebration. A Saint Catherine Academy student and a participant in the Adult Day Program gave the readings for the Mass.
Each year, Saint Catherine Center offers the opportunity for individuals with special needs to receive one or more Sacraments of Initiation outside the typical faith formation program. Gail Milkosky, Director of Parish & Community Support for the Center, worked with Directors of Religious Education throughout the Diocese to coordinate preparation and participation.
“I thank the parents, sponsors, and godparents, who support these young people,” Bishop Caggiano said. He also acknowledged Saint Catherine Center staff for their work with young people with special needs. “They don’t just serve them,” he said, “They love them.”
“It’s so important that we remember that everyone is welcome in our Church and should feel included,” said Helen Burland, Executive Director. “This beautiful Mass reminds us of that.”
In addition to promoting inclusion of people with special needs in parish life, the Office for Parish & Community Support serves as a resource across the Diocese to help families with the process of preparing their special needs children and young adults to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. We are available to advise families and Directors of Religious Education about accommodations or modifications that might be needed, and even to “practice” with the individuals. Call 203-540-5381 for more information.