I am looking forward to serving our special needs community at St. Michael the Archangel Church and exploring the beauty and fullness of our faith through scripture and Bible study. Our family of five has been a member of St. Michael’s since we moved from Florida in the spring of 2000. At that time, my husband, Dave, and I had three children aged 8 and under, and were struggling with attending the mass in full, since our middle child, Nick, was having severe sensory issues associated with autism. We were determined to instill a love of the faith and Jesus with all of our children, so we devised a plan to reward Nick for every 10 minutes he could participate in mass. At first, I would leave mass with Nick after he completed his segment and we would wait for the rest of the family in the car. As he became more capable and was enjoying the small “successes” he gradually became more relaxed and integrated with the rest of the family until he finally was able to stay through the entire mass. I believe breaking the mass down into segments and allowing him to incrementally enjoy success was the key to his acceptance and eventual love of attending church. I have also supported his spiritual growth by co-teaching in his PSR classes for many years and becoming a catechist. I was ever so proud of his accomplishment of confirmation right on schedule with his other classmates in 2011. Recently, Nick has joined the Knights of Columbus and is looking forward to contributing to our church’s charitable ministry. We have come so far over the last 15 years and, with God’s grace, we look forward to a future of many more great blessings. I am especially pleased to be meeting you and working with you to encourage your special family members to fulfill their intended journey of faith and to overcome the barriers that may present themselves in the process.