The Ministry for Special Needs and Disabilities in the Diocese of Tyler has received a $5,000 grant from Our Sunday Visitor. The money will be used to provide materials and resources to parishes, as well as to continue raising awareness of the need for the ministry and formation for those involved.
“I’d like to thank Our Sunday Visitor for supporting the special needs ministry in our diocese and for helping us to continue expanding and improving it,” said Linda Porter, coordinator of the ministry for the Diocese of Tyler.
In addition to providing formation for those involved in special needs catechesis, the ministry also provides outreach to families of those with special needs. An annual diocesan Mass with a modified liturgy is offered each April in the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul in Tyler, with a reception for families following.
This year, the ministry will hold its first regional special needs Mass Saturday, Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. in St. Michael Church in Mount Pleasant. Father Jorge Dinguis will celebrate the modified liturgy. All families with children or adults with special needs are welcome. All parishes are asked to send a representative so they can see how to model the liturgy in their parish. Special dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation for this weekend will be granted to those who attend.
A Catechist and Family Formation Day will be held Oct. 14. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. St. Paul’s Meeting Room in the Chancery in Tyler.
St. Patrick Church in Lufkin will host a diocesan Advent social for families Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The day will include lunch, a visit from St. Nicholas, and activities.
The ministry also is planning a Lenten social next year.
“We are still very much focused on trying to show parishes how they can let families know they are willing to help,” Porter said. “I encourage every parish just to start with a blurb in its bulletin, asking these families to contact them and let the parish know what their needs are.
“These families are out there,” she said. “What we’ve found repeatedly is that if you just extend a hand to them, they’ll come. And then we can start helping them catechize their children or other family members with special needs.”
For more information about special needs ministry in the diocese, including events and resources, please see the website here.