Archive for May, 2011

Dr. John Boojamra† on Socialization

Dr. John Boojamra†

Addressing the personal development of persons with disability, including those with intellectual disabilities, proceeds on the same basic foundation that applies to everybody else. They, too, are made in the image of God. Yes, adjustments must be made, but not by putting them in another category. The word “special” must not be taken as “different.” It should mean that they are to be recipients of greater honor, as both  St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:24  and St. James in St. James 1:9 affirm.

 In his book “Foundations of Christian Education” John Boojamra of blessed memory lays out the key means by which persons are socialized. Consider these statements:

The family and the Church, in that order, are the matrix of socialization. (P. 10)

Orthodox Christian socialization is, in general terms, the process of human growth toward the uniting of oneself and others to Christ and His Church.

Those who have not, (or perhaps never will) reach the stage of abstract reasoning learn by experience, by watching- it is therefore imperative to include them in Church events. (pp 42-43)

Prayer by rote is one of the steps to sharing in the adult world. (P. 50)

Self-worth develops through accomplishment, acceptance, and a sense of belonging to both family and Church . . . the Church’s symbols and their constancy are assimilated; later, concepts [may] grow. The growth beyond egocentrism is facilitated by the shared experience of [these] symbolic structures, [whose] Divine depth invite eternal growth and discovery of the image of God inherent in every person.

The sensual- art, music, vestments, color, and tastes, experienced in the Liturgy- is the way (p. 53) Christ became flesh; touch is essential. Liturgy, fasting, prayer, and service, at Church and at home, socialize a person into [active citizenship] in the Kingdom. (p. 55)

Two key ingredients for socialization in the family: 1. the father’s commitment to the Faith and to love; 2. a loving relationship between the husband and wife (p. 80)

The Church and the lateral relationships it provides undergirds its families. (PP. 91-93)

Parish-based family-centered catechesis, balancing cognitive and affective elements, and addressing family efforts to worship, play, learn, and serve together, are a priority for the liturgy after the Liturgy if the parish is to be healthy, cohesive, and growing. (pp. 95-97)

The Church could be a clearinghouse for family support specialists; workshops by such specialists would be helpful. (P. 170)

Here is a blog post by Joseph Paterson that speaks to the ultimate goal of socialization: people loving one another in harmonious community. Persons with disability are called, no less than anyone else, to be a part of that: 

Picture from 

Widows, Women, and the Bioethics of Care, by Christina T. Partridge & Jennifer Turiaso

Partridge, Christina T. and Turiaso, Jennifer,  ‘Widows, Women, and the Bioethics of Care’, Christian Bioethics, 11:1, 77 – 92.

Published by Oxford University Press, 2008.

While this post and the last one share a similar subject, this one is founded on a Christian understanding of the matter- the authors,  Christina T. Partridge and Jennifer Turiaso, emphasize the need for an “authentic Christian ontology of gender.” (from the Abstract) Widows are called to become “authentic Christian monastics” who are icons “of rightly ordered women providing rightly ordered Christian care for those in need.” (also from the Abstract) 17pp. To access:

a healing homily

This homily was given at St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Freehold, New Jersey on October 11, 2009. First addressed in the homily is the approach to disease in the Law of Moses;  and the homilist proceeds to address the various reasons in Holy Scripture, both Old and New, for sickness and disability, and what God, in His unlimited power, can do about it.  Finally, the proper response to illness is briefly summarized. To access: 

Healing Homily:

Jesus saves

An Orthodox Christian understanding of how Jesus saves, by the Reverend Dr. Harry S. Pappas: 

Some Christians regard salvation as escape from being sentenced to Hell, exclusively. But an examination of the Holy Scriptures reveals many more aspects, including deliverance (instant or eventual) from disability.

Dr.Fr. Harry Pappas’ presentation addresses these: 

during His own ministry, Jesus saves persons from their individual physical, spiritual, psychic, and even social and economic needs. So Jesus saves us from:

  • All kinds of physical sickness, such as the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law (see Mark 1:29–31);
  • Chronic and terminal physical ailments, such as the epileptic boy (see Mark 9:14–29) and a leper (see Mark 1:40–42);[1]
  • Permanent disability, such as two blind men (see Matthew 9:27–31), or deformity, such as the man with the withered hand (see Mark 3:1–6);
  • Various forms of demonic possession, such as the man with an “unclean spirit” (see Mark 1:21–28);
  • Sins, such as the paralytic at Capernaum (see Mark 2:1–12);
  • The threat of death, such as Peter who was afraid of drowning (see Matthew 14:22–32);
  • The power of wealth, as when Jesus instructed the rich man to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor (see Mark 10:22);
  • The power of evil or the devil, as expressed in the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:13);
  • Physical death itself, as in the raising of Lazarus (see John 11:28–44).

This is a very small excerpt. I chose it because it addresses the salvation of persons with disability.

-from a list of the various ways of looking at our great salvation in Jesus Christ, compiled by Brigham Young University )

patient perserverence toward a worthy goal

The following online news story portrays a living icon of patient perserverence. A man with significant disabilities graduates, at age 38, from our local Protestant Evangelical Bible College. His Sunday School teacher, by the way, is the brother of one of the folks in our group home. (“Icon” is to be understood in the Orthodox Christian sense here, of course.)  Here’s the story: 

Lead us, O Lord, to the springs of living water, and make us springs along the way.

A pertinent passage in St. Luke’s Gospel in regard to disability issues

St. Luke 14:12-24

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things.

Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

The Lord, in the first passage, verses 12 to 14, is telling us who He would be well pleased if would invite to our celebrations:

the poor, the lame, the maimed, and the blind

In other words, people with disabilities.

He also, in the parable that follows is expressing a priority in regard to evangelism efforts. Those who were first invited put other interests ahead of the great supper.  Repeatedly, we see in the Gospel Narratives, in Acts, and in the Letters of the New Testament that the people of Israel were to be first to receive the good news of Jesus and salvation in His Name, but this nation as a whole rejected the message. And so other “guests” were to be invited.

And who was to be invited first in this second round of invitations?

the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

When Jesus repeats Himself, it is for emphasis. 

Saint Cataldo †485

St. Cataldo is an intercessor before the Lord for persons with visual impairments, epilepsy, and paralysis.

He was a Bishop. He established a monastery in Ireland, visited the Holy Land, and was shipwrecked in southern Italy where he labored to enlighten the peoples who had reverted to paganism there.

Here are three websites offering accounts of him; the last one seems to have confused the year he died with the year he was canonized (declared a Saint).

The Shipwrecked Saint: St. Cataldus of Shanrahan [Ireland] and Taranto [Italy]: The Shipwrecked Saint: Saint Cathaldus of Shanrahan and Taranto

See also Wikipedia: Catald & St. Catald of Taranto 

Image from St. Titus Parish, Aliquippa, PA


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