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placeholder August 8, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
SPRED plans Labor Day retreat

SPRED, the Special Religious Education Department, hosts two retreats for participants.

The 39th annual Labor Day retreat will be Sept. 3-4, where adult SPRED friends and catechists will gather together to grow in their faith.

The other retreat is the Reflection Weekend retreat. It will be at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville for adults with developmental disabilities from Feb. 24-26, 2017.

These retreats complement classes held twice a month, special masses offered throughout each year and the sacraments for SPRED friends.

SPRED has helped developmentally disabled residents of the Oakland diocese elevate their faith for 36 years and assimilate those who have disabilities into the daily life of the church, serving about 600 people.

SPRED's aim is to allow people with disabilities, including severe cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities and severe epilepsy, to have the same opportunities as everyone else in the church to advance their faith.

Each friend — "a person with a developmental disability and participant in SPRED" — is accompanied by a catechist at events from retreats to special masses.

SPRED coordinator Michelle Martinez-Kilty began her work with SPRED as a catechist in 2008. She was paired with an 11-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. Martinez-Kilty became quite close with her friend as they enriched their faiths together.

Martinez-Kilty's fondest memory while working with SPRED was just weeks ago, when the friend with whom she began her work with received her first communion. She said, "It was a long process to prepare for but it was well worth it."

An annual event, SPRED the Word, began 24 years ago, starts with a liturgy and moves on to a dinner-dance fundraiser. For more information on SPRED the Word go to www.oakdiocese.org/spreadtheword

For more information about SPRED, www.oakdiocese.org/ministries-formation/spred or email info@spredoakdiocese.org or dial 510-635-7252.

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