Fun with user’s questions.

August 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

Every so often I like to go through the searches that bring people to my little corner of the web and see just what people were looking for when the stumble in here.  Which inevitably yields a fine selection of “Questions people weren’t afraid to ask but probably didn’t find an answer for.”  at least not here.  So, being me, I will attempt to fill in the gaps.

How do you teach autistic children about the Sacrament of Communion?   I think a lot depends on the level of the child.  Some autistic individuals are more capable of abstract thinking than others.  But that can be said about normal children at that age as well.  Here is the real kicker, I honestly don’t think the Eucharist as it is, that being the blood and flesh of God, can actually be explained to anyone.  It is something that the Holy Spirit testifies to, it is a matter of miraculousfaith, it isn’t something teachable by human means.

So, I would say if you are trying to teach the truthfulness of the Sacrament, don’t,  just pray for the Spirit of God to teach that thing that defies all human understanding.  Your example of faithful life probably teaches best.  When you attend mass be sure that you are focusing on the sacrament, receive reverently, pray afterward in thanksgiving, talk about how much it means to you personally.  You can use picture stories or social stories, you can use picture books, you can use words and lessons depending on the mental and verbal understanding of the communicant but for the them to understand the miracle that is the Eucharist is going to take and act of God (but it does for all of us, so trust Him in this).

If you are interested in reading more of my thoughts on autism and the sacrament of communion you can read them here.  There I have some more nitty-gritty, how to make it actually work, sorts of advice.

Where do you find (inexpensive) white dishes?  I really like white dishes.  My new favorite place to shop is Ikea.  They have white dishes in their catalogue.  I think these are beautiful and plan on giving them a try very soon. 

When does Advent 2008 start?   This year the first Sunday of Advent is November 30.   I am hopeful that I will have most of my Holiday preparations done before the beginning of Advent this year so that I can focus more clearly on the family, spiritual and faith aspects of the Advent and Christmas season without the clutter of culture, consumerism and materialism clogging up my life.

What is Catholic Homemaking?  Homemaking when a Catholic chick is the one doing it?   Ok, for another not quite so tonguein check answer: There are some things that  mark Catholic homes.  No, I am not talking about plastic statues of Mary or St Francis in the yard, though that can be part of it.  What marks all that Catholic homes I am blessed to be surrounded with is a sense of the flow of the liturgical year.  There is also a sense of being just a tad counter cultural.   I know when I am looking to see if I am in the right place for an activity with my homeschool group all I need to lookfor is the club vans with the pro-life stickers on the bumpers.  We are a group of mostly big families, five or six being average.  It is the sort of group where, when the woman with seven kids announces that number eight is on the way everyone is honestly happy and no one makes snide comments or asks “how will the older kids feel about ANOTHER one?” because the older kids are all bragging about having another one to their friends.  We tend to be somewhat kids centric, rather eccentric and just a touch touched in the head compared to the rest of the world. 

Who is Carol Race?  Carol is a mom in Bertha, Minn.  Her son Adam is autistic and the parish of St Joeseph took a restraining order out to keep the family from bringing Adam to mass.  In response to that Carol started a website called Project: Adam’s Pew.  I like Carol.  I have spoken to her several times and she is really a delightful person to talk to.   I don’t completely agree with everything she has said or done in this situation, but I do like her and I understand that she is trying to be the best mom and advocate for her son that she can be.  This is one of those cases where what is read in the media is just a tiny slice of the whole story.  The Oregonian ran a piece on this on August 14th and the comments that the paper ran a few days later displayed the predicatable gross bigotry to the Catholic Church that these kinds of stories bring out.  Bad, bad evil priest, poor innocent little boy being kicked out, WWJD and not so vague hopes that the priest rot in hell.    If you want to read my previous thoughts on this story you can check them out on the sidebar under autism

What are the lyrics to “Things you don’t say to your wife”?  A lot of people seem to be looking for the lyrics to this funny song so I went ahead and transcribed them:

 Hey honey have you gained some weight in your rear end?
The dress you wear reminds me of my old girl friend
And where’d you get those shoes I think they’re pretty lame?
Would you stop talking ’cause I’m trying to watch the game?

If you’re a man who wants to live
a long and happy life
these are the things you don’t say to your wife.

I planned a hunting trip next week on your birthday;
I didn’t ask you but I knew it’d be ok.
Go make some dinner while I watch this fishing show.
I taped it over our old wedding video.

If you’re a man who wants to live
a long and happy life
these are the things you don’t say to your wife.

Your cooking is ok but not like mother makes.
The diamond in the ring I bought you is a fake.
Your eyes look puffy, dear, are you feeling ill?
Happy anniversary I bought you a treadmill.

If you’re a man who wants to live
a long and happy life
these are the things you don’t say to your wife.

If you’re a man who doesn’t want
to get killed with a knife
these are the things you don’t say to your wife.

So, that is it for this round of answering those pressing questions that readers ask on their way to Simply Catholic.

An update for Carol Race

August 13, 2008 § Leave a comment

The charges for violating the restraining order have been dropped against Carol Race. You can read the news article here.

I spoke to Carol last week and told her that I would publish a link to her latest endeavour. There is a petition on the website “Project: Adam’s Pew” I have read it and I am still considering it. In reality I think I need more feedback from those beyond myself. The petition is asking for the Bishops to consider forming a task force to look into how their former recommendations are being carried out. Which I can’t imagine being a harmful thing.

At the point where we are looking to send a petition off to the Bishops to address the “issue” of inclusion of people with disabilites into the communal celebration of the mass the story stops being about Adam or Rachel or any other particular child or adult and becomes about the best practices for all involved. To decide what is best we need to look at the needs of the community, the needs of individuals within the community, and the teachings of the Church.

Carol Race — the restraining order stands

July 1, 2008 § 10 Comments

Adam Race, an autistic teenager, will not be allowed to attend mass at The Parish of St. Joseph In Bertha, Minn.  The judge ruled that Adam’s behaviors constituted harassment towards the parish. 

You can read the news articles here. I am not surprised by the ruling, but it is sad that it got to this point.

The Carol Race Story: a quick update

June 25, 2008 § Leave a comment

Carol Race had a hearing to determine if the pairsh of The Parish of St. Joseph In Bertha, Minn was justified in obtaining a restraining order aginst her for bring her son, Adam, who is 13 and autistic to mass. 

You can read more about the hearing at: In Forum News and at The Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune.

You can read more about this story and the other items I have written on autism here.

 

 

Carol Race launches Adam’s Pew Project

June 3, 2008 § Leave a comment

Carol Race has started a project and a website called “Project: Adam’s Pew“.  I assured her last week that I would provide the information about it here.   Yesterday she pled not guilty to violating the restraining order against her which she received when she took her family to mass at The Church of St. Joseph in Bertha, Minn.  Fr Dan Walz had obtained the restraining order on behalf of the parish due to Adam’s behaviors in mass extending from his autism.

She {Carol Race} said mediation with church leaders to settle her dispute is scheduled to start this week. Todd County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen said he hopes the case can be worked out before trial.

Carol seems very hopeful that the mediation will go well.  She said that she has a lot of confidence in the two arbitrators that have come into the situation and that the Diocese will have a representative there.  I believe she said it was the vicar general  which she sees as a good thing.   So do I.  If there is a problem with the priest over-reacting to the situation then having the Dioceses representative will help bring that issue forward and resolve it. 

So please keep the Race family, Adam and their parish in your prayers.  Please pray that all invovled will be able to discuss this issue with open hearts and minds and find a good solution.

About Carol Race from someone who knows her.

May 21, 2008 § 5 Comments

The Parish of St. Joseph In Bertha, Minn has barred Adam Race from attending mass because of behaviors stemming from his autism.  I honestly thought I was done blogging on this yesterday, having also blogged on it the day before, but then I received a heart-felt comment from a priest who knows Carol Race personally and wanted to post his take on the issues.  While his additional information hasn’t changed my personal feelings on this story I want to share them with you in a spirit of being fair, and also with the recognition that I do have a horse in this race so to speak and I don’t want my feelings clouding what is right and true. 

***
Update: 

My latest update on this story is here.

Would those of you who are interested in this story please remember Fr Showers, Carol Race and Adam in your prayers.  I know this is a difficult time for all of them.  I pray that God blesses them all with  peace and fortitude and understanding in discerning what is best for Adam.
***

Below is Fr. Robert G. Showers comment to my blog post “A little more about Adam Race” followed by my response to him.

Dear Darcee,

Thank you for this posting. I do hope that your anger has subsided. You seemed especially upset that Mrs. Race “spent the day lining up legal help.” I allow myself gently to point out that the pastor and the parish council are the ones who chose to unleash the media storm – they chose to go ahead with a restraining order and themselves reported the fact to the press, knowing full well the circus that would follow. After having been threatened with jail time and with news cameras already in her face, Mrs. Race was well advised to spend the day lining up legal help. The parish had lined up their legal help well in advance.

And she was advised. Mrs. Race took this step on the advice of advocacy groups for the handicapped of which she is an active member.

I know Mrs. Race because we studied theology together. This mom in Minnesota is actually a professional Roman Catholic theologian who studied dogmatic theology under the now Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph von Schönborn. Her love for the Church has been constant from her early work on the Catechism of the Catholic Church while she lived in Switzerland to her years as DRE in the Twin Cities to recent years, where she has served her parish in many capacities. She began writing about the place of children, including handicapped children, in the heart of the People of God from way before she could have known that she herself would become the mother of a severely autistic child. As the godfather of one of her children, I have followed this family for many years from my friary here in Scandinavia.

Please believe me, that it pains Mrs. Race a great deal that the Catholic Church is made to look bad. It is true that the parish “offered alternatives” – but all of these so called alternatives were ways to keep Adam out of the church, for example, they offered special Masses just for him in private at home, closed circuit transmissions of the Mass directly to his home – and other fanciful ideas designed to spare people the sight and sounds of a handicapped boy in church.

In my heart, I pray that I am wrong when I suspect that the real issue is fear. Some adults in that parish (including the priest) seem to be afraid of this autistic child, a fear born, it seems, of ignorance and prejudice. I feel like I am reading a novel about the 13th century, but fear of “odd” people strikes deep – in this sense, this truly IS an issue of faith.

I thank you for your insightful and honest comments. You have a good blog here.

Peace and all good,
Fr. Robert G. Showers OFM Conv.
guardian of Consolatrix Afflictorum Friary in Roskilde, Denmark

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