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SPRED Catechist View

From a Catechist’s Perspective by Cynthia Jochum

You’ve got a friend…

When adult catechists say “YES” to a commitment of faith sharing within the SPRED community, they are saying, “YES” to being a friend to another person within the larger faith community who happens to have developmental disabilities. That same, “YES” commitment becomes an extension of friendship to all the adult catechists of SPRED as well.

It is within the context of friendship that the person with developmental disabilities comes to know Jesus. We, the community of St. Edna, have a responsibility to each other to be that sign of Christ to our friends. When we gather, when we are happy, when we receive the sacraments, when we share food, when we hear God’s word, when we celebrate creation, and when we care for one another, we meet Jesus.

I have been involved with SPRED at various times in my life. It has always been a joyful experience and one in which I have learned so much from our friends. Laughter, prayer, kindness, patience, joy, acceptance, humility, steadfastness, and courage are ever present in our sessions together.

When I was a young child, my Uncle John had been a widower for a long time. He would come to family functions or stop by the house, but he wouldn’t stay long. Uncle John was deaf. He had all the characteristics I mentioned above, especially courage and joy. Our family and guests couldn’t fully communicate with him, but I recall just enjoying being in his company and seeing his smile. His challenging disability provided the ribbon that tied me to his presence.

Within the SPRED community of friends and catechists, just being present is the grace filled path that leads the developmentally challenged and the adults to a deeper experience of God. Together we put aside the outside and enter the center. Recently, I found it necessary to make a job change. While it was a difficult and life altering transition, the change afforded me an opportunity to return to SPRED. It is there in the midst of the disabled of our community that I continually seek and find the connection between what I do in the mundane everyday events of life and our Lord. As a new parishioner, the ministry gifted me with a sense of belonging to the larger community of St Edna.

The SPRED community shows me again and again, that when we gather, when we are happy, when we receive the sacraments, when we share food, when we hear God’s word, when we celebrate creation, and when we care for one another, we meet Jesus. That is the simple message of a Christian life. That is the simple message of SPRED.

We have children waiting to join our group, but cannot without an adult catechist. Please consider saying “YES” to SPRED.

A friend is waiting!