A Supplemental Preparation Program for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for Children with Learning Disabilities

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Mattix-Wand, Paula
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
This project is very significant to the Body of Christ. If we are to be a welcoming community, we must welcome all people regardless of age, race, gender, or learning capability. Everyone has a capability to learn about God, faith, and community regardless of academic test scores and 1.Q. levels. If learning disabled children do not receive formation from the community, learn what it means to be church, and what the responsibilities of being a member of the Body are, then we are not being the loving and inclusive people Jesus taught us to be. The learning disabled children in Carlinville, Illinois, have already been welcomed to the Lord's table; it is now time for them to learn about forgiveness and the power of God's healing love through Reconciliation. These lessons also became an issue of justice. The Gerbers have experienced discrimination and prejudice for many years. The catechists on my staff immediately agreed that the Gerbers would be given the same opportunities that the other children in our programs have. The catechists also decided that additional training would be necessary in order for them to be able to recognize the abilities of each student. Finally, the group concluded that the children would not be separated completely from their peers. The Gerbers would continue to attend their regular religious education with their class, and they would attend additional sessions with one catechist.