ORCHARD PARK — On Dec. 26, St. Bernadette Parish is hosting an Inclusive Christmas Mass from 7-7:30 p.m. This Mass is designed for families with children and adults who have special needs. These families are living examples of Christ's love and his nearness to the most vulnerable among us. The Open Doors Committee, who advocates for parishioners with disabilities planned the celebration.
"Families with special needs have a lot to consider and plan when going out into the community," Tobi Stewart, parent of a daughter with autism, said. "Going to worship at church can also take a lot of planning if you have a loved one with special needs." By providing an Inclusive Mass this Christmas Season, the group hopes to make it easier on the families.
This inclusive Mass is shorter for people who have a hard time sitting for lengthy periods of time due to medical conditions or chronic pain. Lights will be dimmed and no incense will be used at this Mass to help assist with sensory sensitivities.
All people are welcome at every single Mass. Some conditions require extra space for items such as oxygen tanks and wheelchairs. St. Bernadette's has several areas to accommodate this need. There are conditions with symptoms which include movement and speaking out at times when most parishioners are still and quiet. These conditions may be dementia, Alzheimer's, Autism and Tourette's. The parishioners already accept these movements at Masses.
At St. Bernadette Parish, we strive to bring awareness to these situations to ensure there is an inclusive spirit at all Masses, so that all God's families feel welcomed every single day and not just during the holidays. Families from other parishes and churches are welcome at this Mass.
For more information, contact Sharon at 648-1720 ext.3.