By Christine Bordelon
The 13th anniversary of God’s Special Children Mass was celebrated Oct. 1 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie. Archbishop Gregory Aymond concelebrated with Fathers Frank Candalisa, Mike Mitchell and Raymond Igbogidi. Receiving First Communion were Anna Barkemeyer, Matthew Bourgeois, Aaron Broussard, Jack Connison, Parker Connison, Bennett Curran, Kathryne Hingle, Olivia Leiva, Conner Tran and Lucas Whitener. Some of the communicants are pictured below as are the celebrants and some of the Special Children who celebrated birthdays.
Joy Zainey (below, leading the bell choir) coordinates the monthly effort with her husband Jay. She said having the Mass and making the sacraments available to those with special needs means everything to her and other parents of God’s Special Children. “It means the feeling of acceptance, the continuation of the right to life. It doesn’t stop at birth. That’s something people need to remember and advocate for. Parents need to know that they have that love from the church, even if their child can’t understand. You thrive on that love you get from the church.”
As usual, the bell choir (above) performed. Zainey said the Oct. 1 celebration included the largest number of sacraments ever received at a God’s Special Children’s Mass. Father Mitchell revealed in his homily that Archbishop Aymond confirmed him at age 44. “It doesn’t matter how old you are (when you receive the sacraments). The right time is when God says it is.” God’s Special Children celebrates Mass on the first Sundays of the month at 2 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier. Archbishop Aymond confirmed two special children (left): Stephen Breaud and Kelly Ann Wiebelt.