Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our Special Children in Church

Barbara Curtis at Mommy Life has three sons with Down syndrome. She has a post about how special needs sons have fit into various church communities. Here's my comment:
We often end up in the 'crying room' of our church, and never take a seat towards the front, as Christina, (age 5 with Down syndrome) is completely unpredicatable. She'll be sitting quietly, even participating (last Sunday I heard her singing "Alleluia") and suddenly become unmanageable, making us take her out to the vestibule. Gabbi usually volunteers to take her out, leaving me to pray, but I try to call them back to say the Our Father as a family. By and large, however, I must say that our parishoners' reactions have been welcoming. We get smiles and special handshakes at the Sign of Peace. The priest usually gives her a blessing at Communion time.

Perhaps this has something to do with a regular column I started in my parish newspaper, Eagle's Wings. I feature a different special needs parishoner each issue, with the hopes that this will give people something to say to them next time they run into them at Mass. Sometimes people want to reach out to someone with disabilities, but lack the words. I hope that knowing the person's name has helped to ease the process of starting a friendship.

I'll be posting these articles in the future.

3 comments:

Lori said...

Oh my, this is a post dear to me! I love bringing my 6 y/o Jackie w/Down Syndrome with me to church, but she is unpredictable like you said. Plus, she is terrified of the high ceilings. We have to carry her in and she usually clings to us and does not want to really sit down by herself. It's a struggle, but I know God is so pleased to see her there. I just wish she would relax more and not be so scared. Hopefully with maturity that will come. I can truly relate to this post, thank you!

Melanie B said...

"I feature a different special needs parishoner each issue, with the hopes that this will give people something to say to them next time they run into them at Mass."

What a great idea!

I could even see expanding this idea in a smaller parish like ours that doesn't have that many families, much less special needs parishoners, to a more generic parishoner profile each week.

Leticia said...

You know, Melanie,you are right, I might have to, as we are running out of special needs parishoners. I might focus on the elderly, or new parishoners, or RCIA candidates.