The annual Mass to celebrate people with disabilities held on November 5 was hosted by St. Catherine Center for Special Needs in Fairfield. The Sir Knights from Assembly 100 were honored to serve as a honor guard for the Mass
It has been customary at this Mass to offer the opportunity for individuals to receive one or more Sacraments of Initiation, with preparation that has taken place outside the typical faith formation program. Gail Mikolsky, director of parish and community outreach for the center, worked with directors of religious education (DREs) throughout the diocese to coordinate preparation and participation. Planning and coordination with the parish religious education programs began in the spring.
“Collaborating with the parishes, we get the opportunity to listen to parents and to create a welcoming and comforting setting for these children to participate in the Mass,” commented Mikolsky. This year, there were 17 young people from 11 different parishes and St. Catherine Academy who received sacraments.
Msgr. Thomas Powers, vicar general of the diocese, celebrated Mass with a church filled with families, St. Catherine Center board members and staff, Knights of Columbus honor guard and friends of St. Catherine Center. Anna Stowe, a confirmand from St. Catherine Academy, and her brother presented the first and second readings. Nicholas D’Ostilio, confirmand and parishioner of St. Peter Parish in Danbury led the Prayer of the Faithful and Philip Palilla, a confirmand from St. Catherine Academy and St. Rose of Lima Parish, presented the gifts at the offertory, accompanied by his family.
In his homily, Msgr. Powers spoke of the virtue of humility. “If we are truly humble, we see ourselves as God sees us,” he began. “These children of God are the essence of humility and are welcomed and valued in the eyes of God.”
“This annual Mass reminds us that all are welcomed in our Church,” commented Helen Burland, executive director of the center. “Each of us must work to encourage the full participation of all people in the life of our parishes and the diocese. Our efforts on a daily basis focus on the ordinary. But today, we celebrate the extraordinary”
Following Mass, Msgr. Powers, several board members and Ryan, one of the adult program participant. Portions of this post are from the Diocese of Bridgeport website.