SocioMovens Croatia has been active again in the last few weeks. Despite all their commitments at school or university, numerous volunteers found time to prepare for First Communion and Confirmation with 26 pupils from the “Tomislav Spoljar” education centre. The sacraments will be donated by Bishop Bože Radoš on 23 April 2022. The pupils with disabilities are closely accompanied in their preparation by the person in charge of the Commission for Pastoral Care for People with Disabilities and their Families of the Diocese of Varaždin, Leonardo Šardi, who implements the programme with socioMovens volunteers.
In order to give the families of the children the opportunity to participate in the preparation for First Communion and Confirmation, the preparation took place on several dates with very different workshops. For example, in one of the workshops, cards were embroidered and written on with a greeting and blessings. After the celebration, these cards will be given to the children and families by the volunteers.
“The aim, says Anika Sačić – coordinator in Ludbreg, is to make the children and the families of children with disabilities feel welcome in the church and to experience locally how young people, have heart and time for them.”
The volunteers were also happy to finally do an action together. Especially considering that some of the participants had been in very different project weeks, it is great how the group has grown together in the last few months.
Then Anika tells a very heartbreaking story:
“Last year, young parents from our parish got a phone call asking them to come to the hospital for an interview. The diagnosis for their one-month-old child looked very bad. The child was premature and the brain damage was massive, so the doctors were alread y asking the parents to say goodbye to the child. We started to pray for the little one, for the doctors and his family. And: The child survived! Today, the little one is 15 months old and is, so to speak, the youngest volunteer! Until today he has to fight, he is often in hospital, he has permanent brain damage, but the boy does not give up – like his parents.
The parents of the little child also came to the workshop to help design the greeting cards and thus give back a little of what they have experienced in the parish. Quite unexpectedly, this gave the volunteers the opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like to be the mother and father of a special child and what challenges there are to overcome. The mother told of her self-doubt and her struggles with God, but also the trust that God will win in the end and how her faith helps her to carry her own cross.
I and the others can certainly agree when Luke’s Gospel says: “There is no profit in us, for we have only done what we were ordered to do.” (Lk 17:10). That’s what this day and the companion of such great people felt like.”