I Belong!

I Found My Home in the Church

I Belong!

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Advent is all about welcome—about preparing a way for the Lord and being received as members of Jesus’ family gathered at the manger. It’s about recognizing Christ in the people around us and welcoming them as openly as he would. It’s about removing every barrier and obstacle to the Spirit’s work.

For me, these themes have a very down-to-earth quality. You see, I was born with spastic cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair to get around. So as I ponder what it means to be welcomed and to welcome others, espe­cially in a parish setting, my mind naturally turns to things like the physical design of a church.

You Don’t Belong. Until I was twelve, I felt like a valued mem­ber of the church. This had a lot to do with the fact that my home parish was founded just before I was born and that for years, until a church could be built, we had Mass in the gymnasium of the parish school. The place was easily accessible to people like myself who needed wheelchairs. I felt an intimacy and closeness to God there that I will never forget.…

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