Catholic Free Press

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  • Jun
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First confirmation for SPRED

Posted By June 20, 2013 | 12:57 pm | Lead Story #2, Local

By Tanya Connor

The diocese’s first SPRED confirmation was held Monday at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Worcester.
Bishop McManus confirmed eight youth and adults from parishes throughout the Diocese. Seven of them were in Special Religious Development programs held at St. Andrew’s or Madonna of the Holy Rosary Church in Fitchburg, according to Carolyn Oberhelman, SPRED coordinator for the Diocese. The eighth received individual instruction.
Not too many years ago people would never have thought of catechetical instruction for those with special needs like theirs, Bishop McManus told The Catholic Free Press.
But Mrs. Oberhelman said these people were prepared for confirmation, as themes about the sacrament were woven into their regular classes.
“I’m just so indebted to the people who work with our special friends,” Bishop McManus said later. “How proud the parents were, the family members. They felt they had reached a real milestone.”
He said when he was vicar for education in the Providence Diocese, SPRED came under his vicariate, and he was amazed at what could be accomplished through it. So when he became bishop of the Worcester Diocese, he agreed to starting it here.
Mrs. Oberhelman said there are six SPRED groups in the Diocese: one for youth and one for adults at St. Andrew’s, one for adults at Madonna of the Holy Rosary and three for youth of various ages at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Westborough.
Priests from several of the confirmands’ parishes participated in Monday’s Liturgy of the Word. It was spiced with lively songs, including a closing one which the confirmands and their leaders and family members accompanied with hand motions.
In his homily, Bishop McManus told them that the greatest gift is Jesus, who is like a window through which people see God.
The bishop told how Jesus died, rose, and returned to his home, not to leave his people orphans but to prepare a place for them. When he left, he sent the Holy Spirit. The bishop described Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit turned run-away apostles into bold proclaimers of God’s word.
“God the Holy Spirit is coming into your life,” he told the confirmands. “All of us should be filled with such joy that God loves us.”
Those confirmed and their parishes, are: William Perreira, Immaculate Conception, Lancaster; Thomas Georgian and Sandra Soto, both of St. Joan of Arc, Worcester; Christopher Davis, St. Columba, Paxton; Ryan McKenna, St. Joseph, Fitchburg; Lee William Woods, St. Cecilia, Leominster; Steven Karue, St. Peter/St. Andrew, Worcester, and Jennifer Letteney, St. Bernard, Fitchburg.