SINGAPORE – Easter Mass was celebrated by the Faith and Light Community at Church of Sts. Peter and Paul on Sunday Apr 12. It was attended by about 13 special persons with intellectual disabilities, together with their families and friends of the community.

The special persons participated at the Mass by offering gifts during the Offertory and the community shared an action song “Beautiful” with the congregation, a song that is “very special to us”, shared Magdalene Yip, National Coordinator of the community in Singapore, because it sings of “the weakest, smallest and most broken person [being] beautiful and made by Jesus”.

The community shared its reasons for celebrating this Mass together: to integrate with the Church as a community, and to create awareness about Faith and Light.

Faith and Light Community, Singapore, is a member of the International Association of Faith and Light, a spiritual and ecumenical movement established in 1971 to reach out to the intellectually disabled and their families and help them realise that they too, are from God.

The community is currently working with Catholic Welfare Services to prepare a survey on the needs of adult persons aged 18 and above, with intellectual disabilities.

Ms Yip encourages families and caregivers to send in their survey when it is ready as it is “an opportunity for the Church to recognise their existence and needs”.

Furthermore, there will be a conference to be held this July for “our special persons to speak their minds”, a first in Singapore.

“They usually have no control over their own life. We want to recognise them as individuals with their own likes and dislikes, aspirations and dreams. We hope to give them this opportunity... it will also be fun filled with games and songs.”

The two “experts” leading the conference is Father Adam Gudalesfsky and Sister Concepcion Madduma, both educators for special needs for many years.

For now, the community remains under Father Frans de Ridder’s spiritual guidance and meets once a month at the parishes of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Immaculate Heart of Mary and Blessed Sacrament. Each meeting is one with less than 30 people and is a celebration of the gift of one another. Activities include singing, praying, sharing, feasting, talks, and Mass.

By Joyce Gan

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