'Rabbi, who sinned this man or his parents, that he was born blind ?' Jesus answered, 'Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him'. " (John, 9, 2-3) Indeed, as expressed so clearly in the Bible, the works of God are made visible through our special children. God has given us the responsibility of caring for his angels while we are here on earth. These children present special challenges to us as parents and through our faith and the companionship of other parents with these same challenges, we gain our strength and the ability to over come them.
For this reason, the special Mass was instituted to enable families with members who have special needs and all interested people to get together on a monthly basis to thank God for the special blessings that each have received. Attendance at this Mass has grown - in August, 2005, immediately before Hurricane Katrina struck our city, approximately 450 people attended. Recently, in conjunction with the special Mass, a group has been formed, known as "God's Special Children" . Special thanks to my good friend Steven Munster who has made our website possible.
The group is addressing the following issues: Creation of a buddy program with area CYO member and high school students; Retreat programs for families who have children with special needs; A religious education class for persons with special needs; Catholic educational opportunities for students with special needs; Availability of the sacraments to all Catholics; and Increased awareness by the clergy and by lay parishioners of the spiritual needs of all of God's children.
We are grateful to Archbishop Hughes who completely supports "God's Special Children" , as well as Father Mike Mitchell, Msgr. Andrew Taormina, Father Mark Ford, Father Tom Stahel, Presentation Sister of the Blessed Virgin Vera Butler, Daughter of Charity Sister Anthony Barczykowski, and Sister Mary Ellen Wheelahan O. Carm. who have helped make this innovative program such a huge success. We would also like to thank Pete Quirk, executive director of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and Jim Kelly, president and CEO of the Associated Catholic Charities for their support.
Most importantly, we would like to thank the wonderful children and families who attend and who participate in the monthly Mass. Some children pray and sing with their voices, others with computers, others with bells, others with their hands by either clapping or using sign language...Some children only pray and sing with their eyes. Everyone at Mass pray and sing with their hearts...
The Mass is usually held the first Sunday of every month at 2:00 PM at St. Francis Xavier church located at 444 Metairie Road. St. Francis Xavier is wheelchair accessible, and off street parking is available. Refreshments will be served immediately after Mass. Since we are all "special" in God's eyes, we invite everyone to join us. You will then experience firsthand what it is like to be in the midst of angels.
Please join my wife Joy, my daughter Margaret and her husband Tre', our son Chris, and our son and Special Angel Andrew at the monthly Mass for God's Special Children, their Families and Friends.