White Mass to Honor Gifts of Persons with Special Needs

October 16, 2013

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, will celebrate the fourth annual White Mass, which honors the gifts of all persons with disabilities and those with mental health challenges, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Sunday, Oct. 20.

4th Annual White Mass
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013
11:30 a.m.
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
1725 Rhode Island Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
The White Mass will bring national, regional and local leaders together in prayer with those who have special needs and their caregivers. The Mass takes its name from the color’s connection to baptism and new life in the Church. All those who are attending are invited to wear white as a symbolic renewal of their baptismal vows. The Archdiocese of Washington is engaging local Catholics via Facebook and Twitter and asking them to post photos or videos using the hashtag #WearingWhite to explain why they will be wearing white to the Mass.

Catholics are taught to look beyond the disability to see the person and their gifts, interests and unique personality and to recognize that each person is an important member of the Body of Christ. In 1995, the Catholic Bishops issued the Sacramental Guidelines for Persons with Disabilities which states: “By reason of their baptism, all Catholics are equal in dignity in the sight of God and have the same divine calling.”

The Archdiocese of Washington’s Department of Special Needs Ministries hosts this annual liturgy. The archdiocese has a proud legacy of serving Catholics and community members with special needs. This effort, begun nearly three decades ago, continues today with outreach to clergy, parish, ministry and nonprofit partners, including support for mothers receiving a prenatal diagnosis of a disability, parish-based catechetical programs for students with special needs, adult faith experiences for Deaf Catholics and outreach to veterans with a service-related disability or service-related PTSD.

The White Mass will be sign-language interpreted and low-gluten hosts may be requested in advance by contacting the Department of Special Needs Ministries. The cathedral is wheelchair-accessible via the garage entrance to the right of the main steps.

Parking will be available on the street, in the Cathedral garage ($5/car) or at the Colonial Parking Garage, 1730 Rhode Island Avenue, across the street from the Cathedral ($10/car).

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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