October 29, 2013 // Local

Extend an invitation

By Mary Glowaski and Jane Sandor

Perfection — something we can strive for. Something we may strive for as we work to perfect our hearts and our lives as Jesus calls.

The problem with perfection is that it can have a look or a sound that may bring reassurance and a sense of security to many, but may also exclude many. In faith and a desire to welcome all to our parish homes, to our Church, we must also reconsider this effort for perfection in our liturgies and parish activities. Who are we missing in our parishes, in our churches every week?

The Father’s call to perfection is rooted in the call of our Baptism, a call that takes great courage to live every day. Those in our parish families who live with disabilities live this call with heroism as they embrace their journey to holiness and perfection. We are all striving for this same perfection “to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy.”

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is committed to reaching out to those who are disabled and their families in an effort to meet the call of our Baptism.

Working for the Office of Catechesis and in close collaboration with the Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries is Jane Sandor who is devoted to seeking those in our diocese who have not been able to receive their sacraments.

Our shared faith journey

An invitation to a celebration is a well-accepted and common practice. Whether it is a birthday party, a holiday dinner, a family reunion or a wedding, we want to be certain that our friends know that we want them to share the day with us. They are important. They enrich our lives. They are needed.

This is true in the area of sacramental preparation and celebration. Oftentimes, when a daughter or son is taking another step in their faith journey through the reception of a sacrament, we invite family members to this celebration. For people with special needs, this invitation may have never been sent. For whatever reason, the Eucharist, Reconciliation and/or Confirmation have not been part of their faith journey. They have been unable to fully join in a deep and meaningful participation with the Church.

Under the direction and guidance of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, the Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries, along with the Office of Catechesis, the opportunity to receive the sacraments has been opened to everyone. Through the use of Adaptive Kits for sacramental preparation, the Rose Kennedy Program, interactive programs, and relationship building, we are reaching more of our brothers and sisters.

One hopeful story involves Spencer. His mother, Sabine says, “We suppose the journey of being parents to a son with special needs has not been about the growth of Spencer in itself, but perhaps the growth of us being his parents also.

Not only in the spiritual aspect, but in the beginning for us as parents many concerns on what his future would hold and what obstacles we were to encounter along the way.

Instead Spencer has shown us on a day-by-day roller coaster ride what is considered important in life. Perhaps not to concern ourselves so much with day-to-day schedules, busyness of life or how we think our lives should be perfect according to the secular world definition of “a family.”

Instead, how about taking a walk, singing some songs, watching Walt Disney videos (for the 10,000 time!) and enjoying each day as it may fall into place.

The continuation of another chapter will happen this next month with Spencer receiving his Confirmation. Another grace in his and our lives that we have been blessed to receive.

Spencer has shown us a viewpoint in life that God has been calling all of us to join in … LOVE!”

A concerted effort is being made to extend the invitation to all families, to embrace everyone as we continue our shared faith journey. If you, someone in your family or a friend is in need of help with sacramental preparation or faith formation contact Jane Sandor at (260) 399-1450 or [email protected].

If you know of someone with special needs contact Mary Glowaski, Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries, at (260) 399-1458 or [email protected].

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