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May 9, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

It's a celebration
Friends, families and catechists gathered at St. Raymond Parish in Dublin April 23 for the 25th annual SPRED the Word celebration. "You are such important members of the church that two bishops have come for you," Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, told the participants — called "friends" in the program — at the conclusion of Mass. Bishop Barber was joined on the altar by Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins. SPRED, which seeks to integrate people with intellectual disabilities into the life of the Church, offered a glimpse of that as catechists and friends participated in the responsorial psalm, leading the congregation through the gestures that accompanied the words, and the second reading. Rev. Lawrence D'Anjou, pastor of St. Raymond Parish, gave the homily in the SPRED tradition. He repeated his simple message, conveyed in words and gestures, three times, addressing those on each side of the church and at the center. "Jesus says to you today: I am in you, and you are in me. Follow my commandment. Love one another as I have loved you." At the end of Mass, Bishop Barber thanked the friends for "going to all your catechism classes, and the preparation you put into making your First Holy Communion and Confirmation." He thanked, too, their parents, catechists and SPRED benefactors. After Mass, an Italian dinner prepared by the parish's Knights of Columbus was served by members of the parish youth group. Then, friends, families and catechists joyfully took to the dance floor, including a conga line.
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