Special Needs Mass 2016: “We are better together”

The gospel chosen for the 19th annual Special Needs Mass, celebrated at Muswellbrook on 30 August, involved what Bishop Bill called “mixed metaphors”: “The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock….I am the gate of the sheepfold….I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

However there were no mixed metaphors in the message of the occasion: that the staff of the schools of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and of the Catholic Schools Office are committed to doing all they can to address effectively the needs of all children.

The annual Mass is an initiative of the Special Needs Working Party and is very much a celebration of “unity strengthened by diversity”. As Bishop Bill said, “We are better together".

“The shepherd would call his sheep, one by one, and they would know his voice. We are called individually to have that relationship with the shepherd.”

The metaphor of the jigsaw was employed to highlight the complementarity of each member of the community. Bishop Bill referred to “the joy and delight they [children with special needs] bring…and what we do here at the altar in sacrament, we must then carry out of the church.”

Director of Schools, Ray Collins, acknowledged with gratitude the members of the Special Needs Working Party. Mr Collins was accompanied by Director of Schools in the Diocese of Tonga and Niue in the Pacific, Soane Vahe who is currently visiting the Catholic Schools Office. 

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Tracey Edstein Image
Tracey Edstein

Tracey Edstein is a member of the Raymond Terrace Parish and a freelance writer with a particular interest in church matters.