Holy Angels Residents Receive Confirmation and Eucharist

On July 13 the angels were singing at Holy Angels Residential Facility Chapel. One resident was baptized and nine others received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. While I had the pleasure of being present on this glorious day, this journey began back in May.  Chris Horne, Director of Finance at Holy Angels, contacted me asking how they would go about initiating several of their residents. They had a specific date in mind, July 13, because it was the last weekend Sisters Gemma Forlani, OLS and Concetta Scipione, OLS would be present at Holy Angels. Sr. Gemma was being reassigned and Sr. Concetta was retiring.  Both sisters have been with Holy Angels for over 50 years.

Finding resources for the residents that were developmentally appropriate, while at the same time respectful of their adulthood, was quite challenging. Loyola Press is the first publisher to focus on developmental disabilities, and we ordered their Adaptive Kits for the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. The residents met for one hour a week for four weeks with Chris and Jackie Carter, Qualified Mental Retardation Specialists.

And then came that glorious day!  The chapel was standing room only, packed with family and friends. The candidates were dressed in red robes with white stoles and the air was electric with anticipation.  Fr. Rothell Price has regularly celebrated Mass at Holy Angels and he was a natural choice to be the celebrant. The homily was interactive and the residents responded with great enthusiasm.

After Cynthia Cook was baptized, her classmates clapped and said, “You did good!” Then it was time for the Sacrament of Confirmation.   It would seem that standing before a crowd would cause anxiety, but as each participant received the Sacrament there was reverent silence. When it came time for Amy Huckabay to be confirmed, she sat up a little straighter in her chair and, after Fr. Price wished her peace, she responded with a joyous and uninhibited laugh! As I watched all of this, my eyes filled with tears and my skin was covered in goosebumps. During reception of Holy Communion, Paul Walker was so excited his fingers were wiggling with anticipation and Fr. Price had to gently hold his hands so that he could receive and afterwards his whole body wiggled like an excited puppy.  Oh if only we all could maintain that level of joy when receiving Jesus!
Holy Angels plans on presenting the class each spring and inviting other parishes with individuals with developmental disabilities to participate.

by Shelly Bole, Director of Catechesis

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