“They Have Gifts to Give Us”: Mass for People with Special Needs

FAIRFIELD—Sunday, November 7, was a special day for six young people from the diocese as they celebrated their first sacraments at the annual Mass Celebrating People with Special Needs, hosted by Saint Catherine Center.

Melissa LaFontant, a Saint Catherine Academy student, received First Holy Communion along with Raquel Baer from St. Peter’s Church in Danbury. Raquel also received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Four other young people were confirmed: Michael Rodriguez and Amber and Ariel Elias from The Cathedral Parish in Bridgeport; and Jose Mendoza from St. George Church in Bridgeport.

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, presided at the joyful occasion at Holy Cross Church in Fairfield. Father Alexis Moronta, IVE, pastor of St. George Church in Bridgeport, served as concelebrant.

Bishop Caggiano spoke of the meaning of Confirmation. “What God is confirming is how much He loves these young people, how much they are dear to Him, that they are worth everything to Him. And His love will care for them, guide them, and protect them, as His love does for us. It’s a beautiful message.”

In his homily, Bishop Caggiano reflected on the day’s Gospel about the widow who gives her last coins as an offering, in contrast to the entitled behavior of the Pharisees (Mark 12:38-44). “Who in the end is really poor?” he asked. “Because these young people are here not simply because they are cherished by God and us, but because they have gifts to give to us and our community that perhaps you and I don’t have: an innocence of heart, a generosity of spirit, a deep sense of gratitude for the little things that are done for them. And how often you and I, who have other gifts and talents, forget their gifts… as if we have a particular place that is greater than someone else.”

The bishop concluded, “This celebration gives us hope and courage to go out into the world—which basically sees things like the Pharisees did—and teach them a better way. These young people will be the ones to teach that world the better way.”

Families enjoyed a reception together afterward.

The annual Mass Celebrating People with Special Needs is part of the Center’s mission to provide community outreach and support for parishes and families of children with disabilities.

(For more information visit: