Mass for people with disabilities is 3 p.m. Sept. 11

| August 31, 2011 | 1 Comment

Shelly Johnston does a reading during the annual Archdiocesan Mass for Persons with Disabilities Sept. 12, 2010 Photo by Gina Dolski / The Catholic Spirit

Monica and Patrick Duffy have taken their children — Colleen, 10, who has Down syndrome; Kevin, 11, and Rachel, 8 — to the annual Archbishop’s Mass for Persons with Disabilities for the past five years.

This year will be no different, Monica said, although some people may attend a memorial service elsewhere because of the 9/11 anniversary. The Mass begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, in St. Mary’s Chapel at the St. Paul Sem­in­ary in St. Paul with Bishop Lee Piché.

Monica first heard about the annual Mass in the Sunday bulletin at St. Charles Borromeo in St. An­tho­ny, where the Duffys are parishioners.

“It’s an event filled with joy and it’s so nice to see other families that I feel such a connection with,” she said. “The biggest delight for us at the Mass is to see people receiving the sacraments — sometimes that’s a struggle for some families.”

An additional benefit of the Mass, is getting together with Joan and Deacon Sean Curtan, who is director of the archdiocesan Outreach to Persons with DisAbilities, she said. Statistically, there are almost 80,000 Catholics with disabilities in the archdiocese, Duffy said.

“Hopefully, [the Mass] has and will continue to spark further interest in making connections between families and interest in helping Deacon Sean and Joan with their outreach,” she said.

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  • Anonymous

    While I appreciate the people with disabilities coming together to celebrate a special Mass; there is an overtone in our Parishes of “SEPARATE but equal”. As Monica Duffy stated above, “The biggest delight for us at the Mass is to see people receiving the
    sacraments — sometimes that’s a struggle for some families.” As a person with a physical disability who uses a power chair, I encountered barriers – from “handicap” seating behind glass at the back of the church to being blocked by an usher from joining my family in the “walking” aisle for Holy Communion (there was adequate room for my chair to pass without mowing anyone over). Recently, I was led to an aisle too narrow with people seated along the back wall to my right by a well meaning, but unobservant usher. This drew unwanted attention to me and when taking an open spot near the entrance, I had unknowingly occupied a spot used by a couple who regularly attended (hey, don’t we all usually sit in the same spot for Mass : ) ?). I was just there earlier and there was no other open space, so the usher cleared chairs for the couple, so all was well, but… the experience has kept me away from Mass since. Being “equal”, for me is being integrated unobtrusively with all there – scattered wheelchair spaces, wider isles, being able to choose to make the contemplative path for Communion to the front and back (certainly many appreciate being brought the sacrament, but the choice is not there), could improve The Church experience for persons with disabilities while dispelling the fear about disability persons without disabilities often fear. But, that is another discussion…. I hope this opens a dialogue with all Catholics! Peace!