iCare Adaptive Masses Coming to MPHM
Most Pure Heart of Mary has a rich tradition of being a vibrant parish with numerous ministries and opportunities to grow in faith. Faith journeys often involve service to others. A new opportunity will be emerging for MPHM parishioners soon, through the beginning of a program referred to as iCare of Northeast Kansas (Inclusive Catholic Activities and Religious Experiences).
In the early 1970’s, the late Dolores Lebbert, a MPHM parishioner, started a program similar to iCare which was known as REACH (Religious Education and Activities for the Community Handicapped). REACH provided religious education and a meaningful Mass experience for the physically and mentally disabled. By 1990, REACH was operating across the United States in 47 diocese, 154 cities and 30 states while extending into several foreign countries.
Eventually, it became difficult to sustain the REACH program and as a result, the program ended in the Archdiocese in 2000. While many parishes have made an effort to mainstream and include the disabled in parish life, it doesn’t always best meet the needs of the participant with special needs.
To begin with, iCare is centered around the celebration of the Eucharist. iCare will use an adopted liturgy format with accommodations to enable full participation of people with developmental disabilities that may not get the full benefit from a regular parish Mass. Accommodations will include:
simplified language for readings, prayers, and homilies,
simplified explanations of parts of the liturgy,
music selections with simplified and repetitive versus,
openness, flexibility, and acceptance of participants, a more intimate and interactive worshipping community making it easier to develop relationships of understanding and acceptance, while
maximizing opportunities for full participation in the Eucharist through: hospitality, being an alter server or lector, active participation in music, the entrance procession, the offertory procession, helping with the collection, and participation in prayers of the faithful.
After Mass, participants and
family members are invited to a social event that is held in the parish center. Light refreshments will be served with an organized fun activity/event for everyone to enjoy. In the future, the plan will be to add religious education classes, which will also include preparation for the sacraments. We are currently working with the Overland Park iCare program and the Special Ministries Office with the Archdiocese to develop those curriculums.
The first iCare Mass in Topeka will be at MPHM on April 8th at 6:00 PM followed by a social. There will be an iCare Mass and social one weekend a month (on the 2nd Saturday of each month) through August. More scheduled dates will be announced later. We will use the same format that has been developed by the Overland Park iCare program.
If you know anyone who may benefit from the iCare program as a participant, no matter what their limitation or disability, please contact us. Finally, we will need a lot of help to make this work. The foundation of any service program is its workforce – in this case – volunteers – we need you!