As of September, 2018, another wonderful and important ministry is coming to St. Mary’s: Vanspec, short for “Vancouver Special Catechetical Programme”. This is a programme that was begun at the archdiocesan level several years ago, to provide catechesis for children who can only with considerable difficulty benefit from group catechesis, either in a Catholic School or in PREP, because they have special needs that simply cannot be met in a classroom setting. With Vanspec, the catechesis is delivered on a one-on-one basis, so that the child gets the catechist’s full attention. After honing their programme, the Archdiocesan Vanspec Office has decided to establish this unique catechesis in as many parishes as possible, so as to make it accessible to as many children as possible.
We are blessed to be one of the few parishes so far that are in a position to offer this catechesis. Blessed, because the coordinator of the Archdiocesan Vanspec Office just happens to be a parishioner of St. Mary’s, Lucy Rodjito! Blessed also, because we have the local talent required to offer this service. Dana Dionio, one of our parishioners, will be the St. Mary’s Parish coordinator of this service, seconded by Edwin Cruz. Blessed finally, because three parishioners have stepped forward to become catechists. They are Marianne Peraro, of the parish office, Kelly Seneca, and Tricia Santiago. God bless you all, Lucy, Dana and Edwin, Marianne, Kelly, and Tricia, for assuming this new ministry on behalf of St. Mary’s Parish, on top of everything else you do for us.
This ministry is all the precious and important to me because it seems to me that, all things being equal, life will be more challenging for children with special needs than it will be for children who have no special needs, hence, the greater importance of the presence of the light of Christian gospel and hope in their lives. To put it simply, these children, more than others, need catechesis.
You may not have a child who needs Vanspec, but the odds are good that you know someone who does, so please, spread the word.
Also, we have put together a small team of Vanspec catechists, but since the catechesis is offered on a one-on-one basis, you can appreciate that we will quickly need more catechists.
Lucy and Dana will be speaking at the end of all masses this weekend, so I’m sure they will give clear indications as to what you need to do if you wish to sign your child up for Vanspec, or if you wish to volunteer as a Vanspec catechist.
Once again, thanks be to God for the generosity he has inspired in the hearts of all those who will contribute to making Vanspec a reality in St. Mary’s Parish.