Catholic School Awaken Greatness

Special Sacraments for Special Students

April 03, 2017

If a child is nonverbal with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, can parents hope that the child will ever receive the Church’s sacraments?

The answer is a resounding yes, thanks to adaptive sacramental preparation such as is used at Madonna School, the Archdiocese of Omaha’s unique outreach to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Abram Ritchie, a Madonna student, received his Confirmation and First Holy Communion together at Madonna’s weekly all-school Mass on Friday, March 10.

Archbishop Lucas deputized Abram’s pastor, Father Mike Eckley of Saint Pius X Parish, to administer Confirmation along with First Communion.

Abram played an active role in the liturgy, using his computer tablet as his voice to read the responsorial psalm and also some of the prayers of intercession. He and a classmate brought up the gifts at the offertory.

More than a dozen friends and family members joined the Ritchies and the Madonna School community for the liturgy and a cake-and-punch reception afterwards.

Praying with Madonna students often elicits a warm reaction from guests, who enjoy both the students’ active participation in music and responses as well as  their attentive listening during the readings and prayers.

As one of Abram’s relatives put it with a wry smile, “If this is what heaven is like, I’m going to start being good.”

Madonna is one of 70 schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha committed to Awakening Greatness in its students. 

This blog post was submitted by Madonna School.



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The Archdiocese of Omaha Schools admit students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.