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Bishop Hennessey celebrates sacraments for special needs students


Bishop Robert Hennessey confirms Devin Means of Cambridge, one of several students who were confirmed May 18 at the Kennedy Day School of the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton. Pilot photo/ Courtesy Franciscan Hospital for Children

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BRAINTREE -- On Wednesday, May 18, 2011 six Kennedy Day School students received the sacrament of Confirmation at the Franciscan Hospital in Brighton. Two students also received their first Communion during the liturgy.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hennessey administered the sacraments.

Students were prepared for the sacraments by Sister Peggy Youngclaus, SND.

Formation was accomplished through the "All Faiths Program" held at the hospital. Catechesis centered around Gospel stories and included activities such as arts and crafts projects that helped make students aware of the person of Jesus and God's infinite love and mercy for humanity.

"It's a lot of on-hands kinds of activities that we do, all centered on the Gospel," Sister Peggy said.

Students also used booklets with pictures matching the photos already on their dynavoxes, touch screen computing devices which many students use to communicate.

During the May 18 Mass, the students responded to questions during Bishop Hennessey's homily using their dynavoxes.

"I was deeply moved by the faith of the candidates, and especially the parents," Bishop Hennessey said.

"Special thanks to the whole faculty and staff of the school," he added.

Sister Peggy said the Mass was important for the students because it is a significant event in which they can participate with their families.

Kennedy Day School is affiliated with Franciscan Hospital, and offers special education, therapeutic and health services to students ages three to 22. The school addresses individual student needs in areas such as communication, mobility, motor control, vision, hearing and cognition.

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