Persons with developmental disabilities, their friends and families are counting the days until the annual Journey to Bethlehem Mass at 11 a.m. on Dec. 2 at St. Augustine Church, 2486 W. 14th St., Cleveland.
Marilyn Scott, program director for Catholic Charities Disability Services, said the wonderful Christmas celebration has taken place on the first Saturday of December for more than 30 years.
The Journey to Bethlehem begins with a special Mass in which persons with disabilities fill nearly every role at the liturgy. “We invite all members of our diocese and their family and friends to join us,” Marilyn said.
“One of the high points is the offertory procession, in which participants bring up the figures to build the Nativity scene,” Marilyn said. She recalls one woman, who was in a wheelchair, who was honored and excited each year to bring up Baby Jesus. “Unfortunately, Carol passed away this past year, but we all will remember her and her beautiful smile,” Marilyn said.
Often, Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries is the main celebrant and he said that the liturgy is one of his favorite events of the year
After Mass, attendees are invited to stay for a light lunch. There is no charge for the event.
In addition to the Journey to Bethlehem, Disability Services also offers many services for persons with disabilities including:
- Camp Happiness for children and young adults with disabilities
- Continuing adult education programs
- Ministries to persons with developmental disabilities
- Monthly dances/socials
- And the Walk of Hope, which marked its 40th year on Oct. 7.
For more information about Disability Services and Ministries, call 216-334-2963, or visit ccdocle.org/disability.