Confirmation and the SPRED Program:
This past Saturday evening, Willie our middle son, made his Confirmation, thanks to the SPRED program at our church. It is a program designed for children and adults who are special needs or disabled. SPRED is a unique program that delights in the differences of this population and gears its 'classes' to such. It is more of a gathering than a class actually as the catechists and their 'special friends' gather to have some quiet time spent doing activities designed to calm each one (including the catechists) from the craziness of the outside world, to a reading and music celebration of a Bible passage, to a 'breaking of the bread' so to speak (usually some type of dessert that the children will inhale including Will) where everyone shares stories of whatever they like and, after Will helps to clean up like everyone else, he gets to listen to his radio station much to the delight(?? - depends on the music) of everyone else. It is run by wonderful people from our own church with the help of folks from neighboring churches who love the people they have there.
If your church doesn't have such a program, you should check around to see where there is one and talk to others about it. In fact, when the same children who made their Confirmation started there was NO program for their age group at our church. The closest one was about 30 minutes away. So a few parents and myself decided to start our own group. We found some people who had done the program previously and said they would help. Then another group of people came in and said they would take over, since basically the program should not be run by the parents of the children involved - this is their time away. Which is good and you can tell by the way the children, including Willie, tell us to leave as soon as they get settled, that they love being there.
Will with his sponsor, Mario, and wife Chris.
Ways you can help this ministry?? This is from the latest Providence Spred News from the Diocese of Providence:
:Remind each other how important it is for us to be present for our friends with disabilities.
:Be their advocates in our churches and communities, but most important to be their witness of God's love for them.
:Teach them about God in everything we do.
:Share our experiences of God with them.
:Work diligently with our faith communities, church leaders, and families to have our churches accessible to all, not just with building adaptations but spiritually. Keeping in mind that we are all members of the Body of Christ.
:To create an environment where we all can grow in faith, share our love for God.
:Reminding each other of what a great Gift from God, people with disabilities are to our Church.
We have a wonderful program at our church called 'SPRED'. The program has been around for years. It accommodates children and adults who are intellectually and physically challenged (called Special Friends) and pairs them with an adult helper. Will's group meets every other week for 2 hours. They start out with some 'quiet time' - there are activities they can do to relax with soothing music playing. Activities run from writing, which Willie likes to do, to building with different materials, painting, looking at photos, rocking in a chair, etc. Then there is time for listening to a Bible passage and listening to religious music to which they do flowing hand and arm movements. Finally they all share food for snack. This should be a program to check out especially if you are looking for your child to receive the Sacraments. Will has made his First Communion and we are looking forward to this Spring when he makes his Confirmation.
Was the phrase "ask not what this country can do for you, but ask what can you do for this country" part of John F Kennedy's inaugural speech? What happened to that sentiment?
My idea of pro-life is more than anti-abortion. We are given a life, to help others whenever we can. The purpose of this blog is to share information to help people find solutions to life issues.
In a few weeks, the March for Life is scheduled in Washington DC. There will be
pro- life speakers, breakout sessions in many venue , as well as hundreds of thousands of people, from all over this country just being there to let America see they are engaged
in sharing their love for the unborn, disabled, and elderly.
You don't have to travel to Washington to be a part of the pro-life solution. There are opportunities in your local areas: try volunteering at a soup kitchen, crisis pregnancy center, or just visit a nursing home. Have you ever thought of being a foster parent? Talk to your next door neighbor, an older person might need a hand with a small project. A young couple with small children on a tight budget could use an hour of babysitting to get some down time.
History of SPRED
In the 1960s three priests in Europe struggled with the question of HOW to do Religious Education with people who had a learning disability. Realising that a rational, logical and wordy method was totally inappropriate, they developed an intuitive approach, paying much more attention to the environment and the sense of the sacred within the context of community. They wrote down their "lessons" in books called the Method Vivre.
USA 1966 This written text was discovered by members of the Religious Education Staff (Special Needs) in the Archdiocese of Chicago. They translated the books into English and spent two years studying and researching the Method under the guidance of the priests from Europe. The result was SPRED.
ENGLAND 1977 In 1977 a Sister from England studies SPRED at Loyola University in Chicago and introduced the method into Westminster archdiocese. A lecturer from a college in Liverpool spent a year in Chicago and set up a SPRED Diploma Course.
IRELAND 1980 SPRED's beginnings in Ireland date back to 1980. Today there are SPRED groups in the dioceses of Down and Connor, Armagh, Derry, Dublin and Limerick.
SCOTLAND, GLASGOW 1984 SPRED was introduced to Glasgow in 1984. A catechetical programme for children, teenagers and adults, it is parish-based and has flourished in the rich soil of the archdiocese. In the past fifteen years 250 catechists have been trained.
In 1988 At Andrew's College agreed to validate a Certificate Course in SPRED which has now been upgraded to a Diploma. Through this one-year full time course, SPRED Directors for other dioceses and leaders for other denominations are qualified.
PAISLEY, MOTHERWELL, 1990
ST ANDREW'S & EDINBURGH, 1997
SPRED is now part of the pastoral and catechetical life of five dioceses in Scotland:
Glasgow, Motherwell, Paisley, St Andrew's and Edinburgh and Galloway.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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