Much has been happening at Bethesda – For Persons with Disabilities. We are now a registered not-for-profit Catholic organisation.
Also, thanks to the Catholic Bible Institute we now have a registered address and office space. This will allow us to provide greater support to our many families with persons with disabilities (PwDs). We would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to Deborah de Rosia and her team for their tremendous generosity and for being such a blessing to our ministry.
Our first event at the Catholic Bible Institute will be our Volunteer and Catechist Training on Saturday, March 7 from 9.30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Are there PwDs in your parish whom you would like to help or teach the faith to but don’t know how? Then this training is for YOU! It will also help our Community to grow as we seek to expand our Masses for PwDs into other vicariates.
Currently, our Masses are celebrated every second Sunday at the Holy Trinity Parish Pastoral Centre, Arouca and every third Sunday at St Paul’s RC Church, Couva, both at 11 a.m.
Our faith-building efforts for PwDs will continue in 2020. In this regard, we will have two First Communion programmes and our very first Confirmation programme this year (See ‘Classes’).
Our most significant update: In November 2018, Archbishop Jason Gordon approved the gift of land via a Trust, for a group home, an assisted-living facility, and a respite centre for persons with disabilities throughout the nation.
The Trust is governed by a Board of Directors which is currently headed by Neil Parsanlal, a Catholic Lay Minister and Chief Executive Officer of PEAPSL Consultancy Limited. Other members of the Board include Saira Joseph-La Foucade, Belinda James, Carol Hosten, Rhoda Christopher and Neil Mollineau.
For further details, we can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 297-8140 or email@example.com, 493-3585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neil Parsanlal can be contacted at 720-4196 or via email at email@example.com. Like us on Facebook @BethesdaTT
Donations can also be made via RC Archbishop of POS – ‘Holy Trinity (for Bethesda)’ to be written on cheque or envelope.
Please note the following, and spread the word:
First Communion & Confirmation Classes – every Saturday (March 14 —June 20) – Couva
First Communion and Confirmation Holy Mass – Sunday, June 21 – Couva
First Communion Classes – every Sunday (September 6 – Saturday, November 7) – Arouca
First Communion Mass – Sunday, November 8 – Arouca
Short history of Bethesda
The first Bethesda Mass was held in June 2015 at the chapel at Archbishop’s House with then Archbishop Joseph Harris.
The Mass continued for two months at the chapel and in September 2015 it was moved to the Holy Trinity Arouca Pastoral Centre.
During these three formative months, Archbishop Harris sent us to the Nunciature (Vatican Embassy) for review of said Masses and to get advice as to how to start a faith-formation programme. After consultation with the Papal Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Nicola Girasoli we were given the blessing to continue our Masses and begin a First Communion programme with several exceptions to the regular curriculum.
In December 2015 the name Bethesda was launched and our first planning committee introduced.
In 2016 several existing international programmes were reviewed and our own local version was created in combination with the Loyola Faith Formation Kits from the Jesuit Ministry.
Our first Mass with First Communion was held in June 2017 and to date we have completed five programmes. Confirmation will begin in 2020.
With continued support from the Archdiocese, Archbishop Gordon has blessed us with land to establish a home for persons with disabilities (PwDs). We plan on providing respite (temporary care for PwDs so caregivers can get rest); assisted living and full accommodation starting with a focus on adults.
First Communion at Bethesda – our journey
It has always been my desire to have my son, Leandro, receive the Sacrament of First Communion, so when the opportunity was presented, I saw it as an answer to prayer.
It was even more profound when the layout of the programme presented by Bethesda included volunteers who gave of their time for the duration of the process.
Leandro, whose diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder, is extremely hyperactive and sitting still is challenging for him. His volunteers would constantly pray with him and were a source of encouragement as there were times I felt that he would not be settled enough to learn anything.
The Community persevered and kept working towards making the day a success. As the big day approached, I felt a surge of joy. He made it through all the classes and understood the meaning of receiving the sacrament.
Finally, the day arrived. Our family was so excited as we went through the ceremony with the other families. There were tears of joy, laughter, pride and grateful hearts. Thank you, Bethesda for helping Leandro and our family.
— Ann Marie Alexander, parent
The journey of assisting the First Communion class for children with disabilities was wonderful. The children were eager to learn, and their parents were so supportive. It has taught me more on valuing people. It was a joy to see the way a team of volunteers developed around this class so quickly. Thank you, Bethesda for this experience!
— Roxanne Fox, volunteer