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 | Keishla Espinal

Welcoming All to Grow in Faith

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Five Students from Morning Star Catholic School-Pinellas Park, were confirmed by Bishop Gregory Parkes, thanks to an adaptive sacramental program that helps the Church better respond to children with special needs.

“During the Mass I was emotional,” said Caseyjane Fazio, mother of Sebastian, one of the students who was confirmed. “We were so blessed to see Sebastian happy and excited!”

Sebastian, who is 15 and in the 8th grade has a hard time comprehending and absorbing information. The Adaptive Sacramental Program made it easier for him to prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation.

 "I am truly blessed to send my son to such an amazing school. My son was engaged and loved learning and preparing for confirmation. I am grateful for the opportunity to have such a beautiful program to help him complete his sacraments,” said Fazio.

Teacher Erin Galley alongside, Maureen Rocha, Speech Language Pathologist, and teacher for Adaptive Sacramental Classes at Morning Star, met with the students once a week for 30 minutes apart from their regular religion classes that are held at the school to prepare the students for this special moment in their faith lives.

“Many families feel like the sacraments are out of reach for their children with special needs which is devastating,” said Galley. “We are supporting the families of our students just as much as our students. Providing the opportunity to participate in our faith fully is a way to ensure that all families feel welcomed.”

Rocha became involved in the Adaptive Sacramental Program for personal reasons.

 “My son received his sacraments through St. Lawrence Tampa, Adaptive Sacramental Program when he was a child, and I knew from that time I wanted to be involved in helping other students do the same.”

The school’s goal is to meet the students where they are. The Adaptive Sacramental Program is a whole faculty effort. Teachers and staff meet with the students one-on-one during, and after school, as needed, to ensure the students understand everything they need to know.

“The content that the students are taught is the same as what they would learn in regular sacramental preparation,” said Galley. “Our goal is to meet the students where they are and individualize instruction in all subject areas.”

Principal Sue Conza is grateful for Sacred Heart Catholic Church's assistance with helping the students as they grow in their relationship with Christ..

"They are huge supporters of Morning Star. Lisa Gunnin, the Faith Formation Coordinator and the priests there,  welcome our students and support us through the journey," said Conza.

To learn more about Morning Star and its Adaptive Sacramental Program visit MorningStarSchool.org

From left to right, Father Bradley Reed, Bishop Gregory Parkes and Father Amaro Vasquez Ortiz with the newly confirmed students from Morning Star Catholic School- Pinellas Park on April 23, 2024 . Photo by Keishla Espinal
A student from Morning Star Catholic School-Pinellas Park, is confirmed by Bishop Gregory Parkes on April 23, 2024. Photo by Keishla Espinal.
A student from Morning Star Catholic School-Pinellas Park, is confirmed by Bishop Gregory Parkes on April 23, 2024. Photo by Keishla Espinal.
A student from Morning Star Catholic School-Pinellas Park, is confirmed by Bishop Gregory Parkes on April 23, 2024. Photo by Keishla Espinal.
A student from Morning Star Catholic School-Pinellas Park, is confirmed by Bishop Gregory Parkes on April 23, 2024. Photo by Keishla Espinal.