The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Special needs, special gifts

Catholics with disabilities seek ways to participate fully in the life of the Church

Whether it’s your son, mother, sister or the man across the aisle at church, we encounter people with disabilities all the time. As Catholics, it is our calling to be welcoming, but too often, people with disabilities stay in the shadows. In this section, you’ll find stories from parishioners with varying disabilities, tips for sacramental preparation for people with special needs and ways to incorporate everyone in the life of the Church.


The sacraments are for all, including people with disabilities

By Aprille Hanson, Published: July 16, 2018   

Debbie Dufford remembers distinctly the look on a young girl’s face after receiving first Communion. “She was quadriplegic, non-verbal. She always went to church with her parents and watched them go to Communion,” Dufford said. “It was a little bit of the host because she normally had a feeding tube. But when she received she smiled, there was such a joy over her.” Then there was the young boy, developmentally delayed, who “pumped his arms up in More... 

Catholics with disabilities vital to the life of the Church

By Aprille Hanson, Published: July 14, 2018      

Julia Luneau, 17, is not one to just sit in a church pew. As people arrive for Mass at St. Joseph Church in Conway, she’ll often stand by the holy water font to bless them, share a hug or instinctively know when someone needs to be prayed over. “One guy before Christmas was standing in the back, an older guy. She put the love and hug treatment on him. He walked away with tears in his More... 

Catholics who cannot hear ‘are thirsting for encounter’

By Aprille Hanson, Published: July 14, 2018   

While there are only a handful of deaf priests in the country, Subiaco Abbey will ordain Brother Cassian Elkins, OSB, to the priesthood July 14. Though he is hearing, Brother Cassian worked as a professional sign language interpreter and later an independent living skills instructor before becoming a monk. Brother Cassian, 37, grew up in south Louisiana, surrounded by a vibrant deaf and deaf/blind community. “I appreciate (the Mass) differently when I’m with the deaf community. It More... 

People on the autism spectrum have range of gifts to offer

By Aprille Hanson, Published: July 14, 2018   

For people like Sam Honeycutt and Kasen Goodwin, who both have autism, being welcomed into a Catholic community by receiving the sacraments and staying active in parish life is a chance to encounter the love of God. “He has to work so hard to fit into a world that doesn’t understand him sometimes,” said Mary Jo Honeycutt of her 25-year-old son Sam who has moderate autism and epilepsy. “God made him the way he is. He More...