Cardinal Dolan told the faithful inside a nearly packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral the young people sitting in the pews and clothed in red gowns were about to receive the Holy Spirit.
The special Confirmation Mass for Youths with Disabilities was offered by the cardinal at the 10:15 a.m. Mass May 14.
“We welcome our beloved young people who are going to be receiving the sacrament of confirmation at this Mass,” the cardinal said before administering holy chrism oil to several dozen children during a special day in their spiritual journey.
He said the gathering was for all the confirmandi, “the young people who are here with their moms and their dads…their grandmas and grandpas and sponsors.”
Cardinal Dolan, in his homily, spoke of the significance of the sacrament of confirmation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost Sunday and Blessed Mother Mary lovingly accepting the will of the Lord.
He acknowledged the day was also special for the families of the confirmandi because it was Mother’s Day.
“We remember with reverence and gratitude, our moms,” he said, noting that on the previous day, May 13, the Church celebrated the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
Forty-six candidates from about 20 parishes were confirmed during the annual Mass.
Among the confirmands was Domenick Zero, 19, a parishioner at St. Sylvester on Staten Island who has been developmentally delayed since birth. Accompanying him were several family members.
“It’s a very special day—and a very special Mother’s Day,” said his mother, Cynthia.
“It worked out great—and the sun is shining,” she added. “You can feel the Holy Spirit come across in this beautiful church.”
His sister Nicole, 21, noted, “I’m really excited for him, and I’m happy that I get to be here and be his sponsor.”
Sister Joan Curtin, C.N.D., director of the archdiocesan Catechetical Office, in an interview after Mass, said of the newly confirmed and their families, “This is going to be one of the most important days for them. This will be a moment that they will always remember.”
The Catechetical Office worked with ArchCare in planning the liturgy.
Also among the confirmandi was Olivia Miner, 13, a member of St. Mary’s parish in Wappingers Falls who was born with autism and cerebral palsy.
She was with her parents, Michael and Lisa, and her aunt and godmother, Joyce Miner, who served as her confirmation sponsor.
“This is a wonderful day for Olivia; it’s so nice that the archdiocese thinks of the special needs population,” Olivia’s father said. “This is great for her faith—all the support that she’s getting. God is looking over her. I think it’s one of the best days I’ve ever experienced being a faithful Catholic.”
Olivia’s mother added: “It’s a great, nice and holy day—and it’s Mother’s Day.”
“This is an honor,” Olivia’s aunt said. “She’s my niece, she’s my goddaughter. We will celebrate.”