For well over 20 years Council 3335 of the Knights of Columbus has sponsored an annual abbreviated Special Olympics at the Guiding Hands School of the Gallipolis Development Center. At the forefront has been Jim Ryan. Even though he could not be present because of his duties as a caregiver and not in the best of health himself, he still organized things behind the scenens…….a t-shirt for each participant and a medal or plaque for each winner.
Reflections on Church Teaching From Our Experience. Every year the knights who participate in this annual project receive more than they give. Each time it’s a little different and always a heart warming experience. Without question, God loves these little kids, a little slow developmentally, as much as any one else. Being there, one cannot help but appreciate the gifts that God has given to each one of us, which we usually take for granted. That brings a tremendous responsibility to share our gifts with those who are less gifted.
We can see that God loves the less fortunate through us as His instruments. We learn that God loves the less gifted as much as anyone else. He has a special mission for everyone of us whether we are more gifted or less gifted. The less gifted give the more gifted the opportunity to love and to share and to grow in virtue. The more gifted have a special mission to use their great gifts to love and to serve others. We all must help each other on the common road to eternity whether in the family, in the parish, on the job, or in the community.
It’s GOOD! as Paul Sebastian and Matt Bokovitz cheer him on. The kids feel good about themselves as they make basket after basket, all having a good time.
All of this is traditional Church social teaching. Every person has equal dignity and value whether more gifted or less gifted, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, high class or low class, healthy, sick, or handicapped. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40-45)”. Through the ages this Bible passage has been the greatest motivator of charity in the Church. Thus the Church has a special preference for the poor. As St. Mother Teresa said, “Whenever I bind the wounds of the abandoned dying person, I feel that I am binding the wounds of Christ Himself”. Clearly, the participating knights are enriched spiritually and leave with a warm feeling in their hearts. In fact one of our men has inquired in regard to volunteering his time now and then.
Every person has great inherent dignity because he or she is created according to the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). Christ, the Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity became one of us to teach us how to live and save us from our sins through His infinite sacrifice of Himself on the cross under excruciating agony and pain to make reparation for all of our sins past, present, and future so that we may enter the Kingdom of Heaven. All we have to do is accept Him and follow Him.
The Gallia County Board of Developmental Disabilities provides lifelong services if necessary to those in need. Their programs include home based instruction to those up to three years of age, the Guiding Hand Pre-school classes (3-5) followed by the Guiding Hand elementary school, middle school, and high school up to the age of 21. At age 18 employment options are presented.
One of the standouts poses with his plaque of victory. At the same time the camera captures a gem of wisdom in the background left over from Valentine’s Day, ”All you need is LOVE!”. That says it all for everyday of the year. May we put that into practice always…….to humbly accept the love of others while communicating love to all. That would make the world a lot different, wouldn’t it? Maybe these kids can teach us a little about changing the world…….from what it is, to how it should be. It starts with each one of us.
Each class, limited to 8 students has a teacher and an aide. The curriculum includes speech therapy, physical therapy, functional academics, daily living skills, physical education, art, and music as well as behaviorial, social, and emoitional support. One may obtain more detail about the work of the Gallia County Board of Developmental Disabilities by going to www.galliadd.com and/or to the GalliaCoDD Facebook page. Our thanks to Tessa Martin and the director, Laura Johnson for the photos and their help with this project.
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