Sacraments for Special Needs Children in Peru

Recently in the church of El Señor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles) in Pacasmayo, we had the Confirmation of 17 special needs children. We started this parish program two years ago to respond to this segment of society, which has been totally neglected in Peru. Most of the special needs children are not easily accepted in the local community and their parents often keep them sheltered in their homes since the government offers very little help toward their needs. 

In order to break the veil of isolation, the parish began a small program to bring together parents and children once a month in the parish hall. As part of the program, the children are prepared for the sacraments. Two years ago they made first communion, and this past November, they were confirmed. Fr. Rogelio Adrianzen, O.S.A., one of our newly ordained priests, directs the program with a group of volunteers and has a lot of activities which keep bringing the children and their parents back. Confirmation was administered to the children by Fr. John Lydon, O.S.A., parish pastor and Episcopal Vicar for the northern part of the Archdiocese of Trujillo and thus given permission by the Archbishop to administer the sacrament of Confirmation when he is unable to attend.

The Mass was filled with joyful singing and clapping, and as Fr. John laid hands on each of them, it was noticeable how each one closed his or her eyes conscious that a holy event was occurring in their lives. It made vivid the words of Jesus: "I praise you, Father. You have hidden these things from the wise and educated. But you have revealed them to little children." (Matthew 11:25)

After the celebration of the Mass, the entire group went to a nearby hall where a feast was prepared by the volunteers with singing and dancing and great joy at having been confirmed in their faith in Christ.