September 12th, 2011

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#433 – Dick Bernard: “I DID IT!”

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Sunday we were at the “Annual Mass for Persons with DisAbilities”. one of whom was my daughter, Heather.

It was a very special afternoon, confirming eleven adult disabled in the Chapel at the St. Paul Seminary. The Church was filled with friends and family members.

The confirmands had assorted disabilities – for Heather, it is Down Syndrome.

It is folly to typecast a “disabled” person, but I think it can be safely said that those with relatively low mental ability tend to be less repressed than we so-called “normal” people.

So the kind of decorum a Bishop might usually expect in a church was not necessarily the order of the day Sunday afternoon.

There were many special times before, during and after the Mass.

My favorite came during the second reading, from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 14:7-9.

A woman sitting in the front row came to the lectern to do the reading, and in a slow, steady but certain way, she read every word. To my hearing, she read the words perfectly.

Reading finished, she headed back towards her pew, and about half way there she loudly exclaimed “I DID IT!” Hardly ever had I heard such a joyous expression of joy and accomplishment.

Nothing later in the service, even the Bishops homily, or Heather’s part in the service, came even close to matching the reader’s expression of joy at her accomplishing her task.

After Mass we gathered for refreshments outside the Church.

Heather, who had performed her own part of the Mass first-rate, was proud and delighted.

I felt I was among persons far greater than I.

We can learn so much from the disabled.

Heather Bernard, September 11, 2011