Often times hidden, they can be found
in the most unexpected places
By Wayne Gignac
Saint Lawrence, a deacon under Pope Sixtus II during the reign of the Emperor Valerian, was given three days by the Roman Prefect to bring to the imperial palace the treasures of the Church. Quickly Lawrence sold off all the vessels and distributed the money to the widows, the sick and the poor. After three days had elapsed, he returned but he did not return alone. The imperial forces, greedily expecting to see gold, silver, and precious jewels, were enraged when the humble deacon brought forth the poor, the blind, and the disabled, proclaiming, “You asked for the treasures of the Church. I bring before you the true treasures of the Church!”
So began the homily by Deacon Costa Adamopoulos of the Diocese of Providence, for the Third Annual Pontifical Mass for the Diocesan Partnership on Disability, held on October 6 at St. Andrew Church, Colchester.
Deacon Adamopoulos works in the human services field currently as a job coach for a group of individuals in a supermarket in Mystic. “The words of Saint Lawrence come alive every shift I work,” he said to the nearly full church. “Like all of us, they have their own challenges . . . if we pray for the grace to see with the eyes of faith, those challenges that the disabled face can be vehicles of grace to mold and shape us into the type of disciples that Jesus is calling us to be.” The deacon went on to explain that disabilities may limit the way we move, think or speak but they will never limit our ability to love.
Following the Mass was a reception in the church hall. Ian Coyne, Xavier graduate and keynote speaker on the topic of Living with a Disability, said a few words before presenting Bishop Cote with a gift- a polo shirt adorned with the One Heart Ministry logo.
The One Heart Ministry is a partnership for individuals with disabilities and the people who assist them in their daily lives. The group comes together to pray, socialize and work on a service project-making heart pins that will be distributed to different groups of people, at different stages of life, to let them know someone cares. Every heart pin has a prayer attached so the recipient knows the group is praying for them. Some of the groups that the pins will be distributed to include the disabled, veterans, the elderly, patients in hospice, and the bereaved. The heart not only lets people know that someone cares, it also symbolizes the hope that we hold as Catholics that God‘s love accompanies us through every challenge.
All are welcome to become involved in the One Heart Ministry. Please contact the Office of Faith Events at 860-848-2237 extension 304 or FaithEvents@NorwichDiocese.net