I have two links to share with you this morning.
Both are from the Blog of Fr. Kyle Schnippel who is the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. They are from the funeral mass of a disable ten year old girl.
As the parent of a special needs child (my 13 year old daughter is severely autistic) I can only say Amen to Fr. Schnippel’s statements. Family’s with children with disabilities face a great deal of pressure. The pressure comes in so many forms. The needs of your child, the expectations you have of yourself, the expectations you feel that other’s have of you; sometimes rightly and sometimes your own misconceptions. Families with children with disabilities sometimes drift away from parish life. Sometimes they limit their mass attendance fearing that their child’s behaviors will be off-putting to others attending mass.
The Church leadership has made great strides in helping people with disabilities and families with children with disabilities step more fully into parish life. Fr. Schnippel’s words are true and gracious. He sees in the death of this young parishioner the joy of a Saint going home.
From Fr Schnippel:
It gives me some comfort,
to know that Mollie
is now able to run and jump and play
in a way that she was never able to do
while she was here on earth.
Her chair on earth sits empty,
a reminder of the loss that we have suffered.
But she needs no chair in heaven.
take this chance to stretch your legs,
to reach out with your arms,
to laugh and smile.
Jesus is there to welcome you
and to give you what you did not have in this life.
We now send you home to heaven,
and we ask you to continue to help us,
to prepare our place with you,
so that we may join you
when our time here on earth is over as well.