San Agustin Parish in Union City will be one of four churches across the state that began offering monthly Spanish-language family mass for people with disabilities.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Located at 3900 New York Ave., San Agustin will be offering the 5 p.m. services on November 13th, December 11th, January 8th, February 12th, March 12th, April 9th, and May 14th.
“Celebrating the Eucharist is an essential part of our Catholic faith, but many individuals with disabilities and those who love them don’t attend Mass because they may have had a bad experience,” Department for Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities Director Anne Masters said in a statement.
“We’re incomplete as the body of Christ if anyone stays away. We offer the Inclusive Family Masses so they don’t have to worry about making extra noises or the need to move around. This ministry exemplifies our Church’s care and concern about all families.”
The Inclusive Family Masses, which are offered annually from September through June, originated in 2006 as an initiative of the Church of the Nativity in Midland Park.
After seeing the parish’s success connecting with congregation members with disabilities, the Archdiocese brought the Masses to several of its other parishes in 2008.
The goal of the Inclusive Family Masses is to encourage parishioners with disabilities to feel comfortable with the liturgy’s format so they can resume attending regularly scheduled Masses in their parish weekly.
Inclusive Family Masses have resulted in several success stories, with individuals with a disability becoming so comfortable attending the Inclusive Family Mass that they return to the regular liturgy.
They have also encouraged people to complete Sacraments of Initiation, whereas before they felt excluded from this possibility.
Additionally, they have nurtured comfort with new roles in the liturgy, such as Altar Server, and leadership possibilities such as training other Altar Servers.
“We’re all created in the image of God, and we’re all called to live out our baptismal promise in terms of reflecting God’s image of love in our lives,” Masters added.
“These Inclusive Family Masses do that by breaking down walls of attitudinal and environmental barriers. Once persons with disabilities feel comfortable attending their regular parish Mass after attending the Inclusive Family Mass, the rest of the parish community can get to know them and know that all should be equally valued and welcomed. Some of our parish communities may need help with practicing this.”