The icon, written by iconographer Jody Cole, shows the saint teaching sign language to a young deaf and mute man named Martin, whom St. Francis de Sales took under his wing for 16 years. As a result of the saint’s education of the young man in the faith, Martin made his first Confession and first Communion.
The striking icon is a gift for the deaf Catholic community, which worships at St. Joseph Church, where Father Thomas Rozman, pastor, celebrates the Mass in sign language.
In his homily during the Mass, Bishop Gainer remarked that one of the undeniable aspects of Christ’s love was his inclusiveness of others. “No one was excluded from the love of Christ. His heart and his arms were open to all,” the bishop said.
“If our job as disciples of Christ is to grow to be more and more Christ-like, then our love too must be inclusive,” he said.
During the Mass, people with disabilities shared their gifts and talents as greeters, altar servers and lectors as the people of St. Joseph Parish welcomed them for the celebration.
To learn about the ministry and activities of the Diocesan Office of Ministry with People with Disabilities, contact Larry Kiley, Director, at email@example.com or 717-657-4804, ext. 322, or visit the Disabilities Ministry webpage at https://www.hbgdiocese.org/disabilities-ministries/ministry-catholics-deaf-hard-hearing/.
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness