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Church land for Bethesda

Archbishop Gordon blesses some of the children during communion. Photo: Gerard-Paul Wanliss.

By Lara Pickford-Gordon,

Bethesda, for persons with disabilities (PwDs), has received ten acres of land at Todd’s Road/Arena Road in Carlsen Field, Chaguanas to construct a group home for adult PwDs.

The announcement was made by Bethesda committee member Saira Joseph-La Foucade after last Sunday’s Mass at Holy Trinity RC, Arouca, in which she thanked Archbishop Jason Gordon.

The non-governmental organisation offers Catechism and sensory-friendly Masses/services. Attendees at the Mass included persons with: cerebral palsy, Rhett’s syndrome, Prader Willi syndrome, global development delay, epilepsy, and other intellectual disabilities along with all the various aspects on the autism spectrum.

Responding to questions from Catholic News via email, Joseph-La Foucade said, “This facility will be for all disabilities and all religions and will provide much needed support to our PwD community.” She explained the project will be implemented in phases, starting with provision of accommodations for weekends then for a week.

“This will also help with transitioning the person to the facility, [and] help us train staff etc,” she said. The provision of land comes after discussions with Archbishop Gordon last year and an agreement finalised last November.

Bethesda has proposed different types of housing accommodations: temporary housing—short-term assistance with appropriately qualified respite care workers in order that the regular caregiver can be allowed to take a break; assisted living— for adults that can physically take care of themselves but will need support and supervision; full accommodation—for adults that need significant assistance with their daily needs.

Bethesda will have to raise funds for the group home and is in the process of setting up a bank account. In the interim, donations can be made by cheque to the RC Archbishop of POS – Holy Trinity Arouca, with “for Bethesda” written at the back. The NGO has received a pledge of free labour from Habitat for Humanity.

At last Sunday’s Mass (March 10), Archbishop Gordon encouraged Bethesda to continue building and doing good work. Joseph-La Foucade said the Archbishop committed to helping make the facility a reality.

In his brief homily to PwDs and their families he said “Lent is like a gym for the spiritual life” and a time when there is temptation from the devil and tests from God. He added, “God doesn’t tempt us.” To test physical strength different exercises were done, similarly individuals test their spirituality during Lent.

Archbishop Gordon commented, “Sometimes we come out and we good; other times we come out and ‘Oh Lord, we bad!’ but at least we know where we are”.

He said the gospel reading Luke 4: 1–13 about Jesus being tempted in the desert teaches greater reliance on God. He earlier asked the congregation if they had decided what they were going to do for prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Returning to these practises he said, “This Lent what I ask you is to give up something, take up something, and give away something in almsgiving and when you do that you will see where you are with God”.