February 17, 2017

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Erin Jeffries

Discipleship is at the heart of SPRED community

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others” (“Evangelium Gaudium,” #39).

The invitation that Pope Francis speaks of is, essentially, the invitation to discipleship. Each of us is called to respond in love, to God who first loves us. We are called to share with the world the gifts God has given us, and to support one another in our weaknesses.

While with the Special Religious Development (SPRED) community at Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis recently, I took the opportunity to speak with some disciples we do not often hear from.

When I asked about things that they like to do at their parish, here is what they had to say:

Heather Simon shared that “I sing in the choir and I help the festival. I do [the] pizza,” adding that, “I am in the Christmas choir and weekly choir. We practice on Thursdays.”

Michael Hoffman shared that in their SPRED group, “We write letters for Valentine’s [Day] and Easter … for people in the nursing homes, I think. I think they do them for Valentine’s, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Michael also mentioned this: “I helped at St. Pius X [Church]. It was a Mass for Beau Botkin, who used to live at the Village [of Merici]. … I had to take up the gifts up to the altar.” Beau passed away last year, and at the dinner dance his friends asked if we could pray for and remember him together.

When I asked him what he liked about his community, Bill Brassie noted, “I like the togetherness, I think we work together, we get along together.”

This was apparent in the way everyone laughed and talked together, telling stories and helping. Whether it was carrying plates or putting tables and chairs away, there was always a willing hand.

This is a small taste of a lively and dynamic community, which is just one of many such small communities across our archdiocese.

I could mention Dylan, who received the sacraments because he wanted to “be part of the Body of Christ” and is always willing to read at Mass; or Andrea who loves music (especially the Beatles), has amazing penmanship, and is a font of fun and creative ideas; or Nicholas, who cheered when he received the sacrament of confirmation, and would have spent the whole afternoon snuggling Brenda, a visiting therapy dog if he could have!

I could mention so many people, but instead I’ll just invite you to come and meet them for yourself. Our 17th annual SPRED dinner dance will be held from 6-10 p.m. on March 4 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center, 1400 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis, and at 10:30 a.m. on April 23 we will celebrate our annual Disabilities Awareness Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis.

If you have questions about these events or special needs ministry in our archdiocese, please contact me at 800-382-9836, ext. 1448, 317-236-1448 or ejeffries@archindy.org.

“Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16).

(Erin Jeffries is the coordinator of Ministry to Persons with Special Needs in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.)

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