Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16
Special Masses for young people with disabilities are both a joyful celebration of what Jesus calls us to do and an important way to promote their inclusion in the life of the parish.
Two such Masses were recently held in the region: In September, St. Pius X Church in Fairfield hosted a Mass for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families, and in early October, St. Catherine of Siena Church in Riverside celebrated a Mass for people of all ages with disabilities. Organized and facilitated by Parish Partners: Ministry of Hope, more than 130 people attended. A lively luncheon followed.
On Sunday, December 2nd, at 2 p.m., Saint Catherine Center will host its annual Mass Celebrating People with Special Needs at Holy Cross Church, adjacent the Center at 750 Tahmore Drive in Fairfield. As many as 15 young people from all over the Diocese will receive the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and/or Confirmation. It is a moving experience each year. Individuals of all ages and their families are welcome to join in the celebration, with refreshments following. RSVPs (203-540-5381) are appreciated.
“It is beautiful to see Anna and her classmates participate in the Mass,” said Dave Stowe, parent of a Saint Catherine Academy student who was confirmed at the 2017 Mass. This year, Anna will be one of the readers for the celebration.
In addition to promoting inclusion of people with special needs in parish life, Saint Catherine Center’s 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. Gail Mikolsky, director of the program, is 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.