Every Confirmation or First Communion is a special celebration for a Catholic family. For 19 children and 4 young people this Spring and Summer, the joy was shared by our Outreach team at Caritas St Joseph’s who supported them in their preparation. These young people have learning disabilities, and turned to our team, which exists to support anyone with learning disabilities and their families and parishes across the Diocese. Supported by our Symbols of Faith course, we witnessed these children grow in understanding of their faith and in their love of Christ.
Aaron was confirmed in May at St Bernard’s Northolt. His parents were grateful to our team for their support: “I am honoured to have you as Aaron’s teacher. Your dedication to work helps make my son inspire to learn, understand his lessons and in reading bible stories. We are very thankful for your support”
Valerie is from St Michael and St Martin’s parish in Hounslow. She was prepared for her Confirmation by the Outreach team who taught her in her home over the past year. As there were so many confirmands in Hounslow they decided to hold their confirmation service at Westminster Cathedral. Valerie and her family got the chance to visit the Cathedral with a member of the outreach team, before the big day in July. Valerie’s family had a double celebration as her brother was confirmed on the same day.
In June Kai was confirmed at St Dominic’s, Haverstock Hill. He was also prepared for confirmation by the Outreach team. He attended classes over a year long period and was supported in his faith using our Symbols of Faith programme. He received the sacrament at the same time as his sister received her first Holy Communion.
Although much of the work of the St Joseph’s outreach team is helping those with learning disabilities to prepare for the sacraments we also work with parishes and catechists through training and general support. We also help coordinate a number of Saturday Clubs that offer fun activities and respite for families and those with disabilities in various parishes and support Family Groups which currently run in Watford, Ealing and Hendon.
The team also offers wider support with a range of issues including education, healthcare and benefits.
On September 17th 2023 there will be a relaunch of the Kingsland parish Saturday Club including an Inclusive Mass and lunch. The club will be open to all people with learning disabilities and their families in the parishes in the East End. More details to follow.
Please contact the Caritas St Joseph’s Outreach team if you know of any young people in the diocese who might need support in preparing for the sacraments. We can also offer resources and training for catechists through our Symbols of Faith Courses.