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DC Mass celebrates gifts of those with disabilities

Banner girl with down syndrome credit denis kuvaev via wwwshutterstockcom cna 12 10 15

Credit: Denis Kuvaev via www.shutterstock.com.

Washington D.C., Nov 22, 2016 / 03:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The kingship of Christ is lived out through service to those in need, said the homilist at the annual Washington, D.C. Mass for those with special needs and those who care for them. “We must remember – Jesus reigns. He is a king who serves. His royalty is in giving back,” said Monsignor John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.

In his homily, Msgr. Enzler shared how his own life had been shaped by volunteer work with those who have special needs. “I learned a lot from this community about love shared and love given back to those who share their blessings,” he said. “In many ways, I might even say my vocation as priest began to be formed in that experience of serving and helping those in need.” He also touched on the efforts of the local Church in serving those with disabilities, from care and advocacy efforts to resources, employment coaching and autism ministry.

Held on Sunday Nov. 20, the Feast of Christ the King, the annual archdiocesan White Mass recognizes the gifts offered by the deaf community and persons with disabilities. Participants – including both persons with disabilities and those who care for people with special needs – were invited to wear white to commemorate the renewal of baptismal vows and the bonds of community created by baptism.

Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington celebrated the Mass and performed the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of the Holy Water. The Mass was sign language interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing. Prayers were offered during the Mass for those with special needs and mental illness, and for those who serve them. Other intentions included parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of disability, those experiencing chronic or terminal illness, and for the creation of a culture of life that embraces those with disabilities of any kind.

The Mass was held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and hosted by the archdiocese’s Department of Special Needs Ministries, which supports parishes and groups in using the gifts and talents of those with disabilities.   

“The desire is to foster a place of welcome and belonging for every individual,” the archdiocese said in a statement. It noted that for almost 30 years, it “has provided outreach to clergy, parish, ministry and nonprofit partners, including support for mothers receiving a prenatal diagnosis of a disability, parish-based catechetical programs for students with special needs, adult faith experiences for deaf Catholics and outreach to veterans with a service-related disability or service-related PTSD.”  

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