The Catholic Deaf Community of the Syracuse Diocese
  • Mary Margaret Van Damme was born November 28, 1948. Do the math!
  • Pictures of our lay ministers' commissioning ceremony at the Cathedral, and the party afterwards are HERE
  • From our November Newsletter:


    It is not easy to have Catholic religion classes for our  Deaf children, because they live  all over the 7 county area of our diocese! Our Family Religious Education Program is trying to solve that problem.

    How does it work? Parents come to the class with the deaf children. Hearing brothers and sisters are also welcome to come. Class is once a month in each area. We have the class one hour before the signed Mass begins. Classes are in Rome, Utica, and Johnson City. We learn about the story of Jesus (from the New Testament in the Bible).

    We have projects to do. We see the Bible story in ASL (on video!) We do not have a class in Syracuse now, because no families have asked to join. We can start a class there,  if people want to have a class. We have homework  every month. There is a video tape from the ASL bible.

    We see a "parable"---  Parables are stories Jesus loved to tell. (Read more about parables in this issue.)  His stories teach people about God and the Kingdom of God. The students and their families have journals to write in. We call the books "Grateful Journal" because people write "thank-you notes" to God in their books.

    Recently, Mary Margaret VanDamme taught a class in Utica. Altogether, about
    18 people got together to learn about Jesus. She was surprised to see so many people!

    Sometimes people are busy on weekends and do not come to class. We never know how many will show up. That can be very frustrating. Our program is not perfect. We do not have text books, and money is scarce. We have only limited time, and not many helpers. But we are trying to develop a good plan for our children. We want them to grow up to know many things about our Lord Jesus and about the Catholic Christian faith. We believe that when the whole family talks about God together, our children learn a lot!

    OUR CATHOLIC FAITH: The Parables

    What is a "PARABLE?"

    A parable is a kind of story. The story helps us understand things about God. Jesus often used parables to teach people. Many of them are in the Gospel books in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).


    Jesus told a story about a young man who wanted to leave home:
    One day the young man told his father he was sick of working on the family farm. He wanted to have an exciting life. So he nagged his father until the father gave him his share of the family money. Well, he wasted all that money with lots of parties and wild living, and when the money ran out, he almost starved to death!

    Finally, he decides to go home. He thinks "I have acted so rotten, I cannot be part of my family. But maybe my father will hire me as a servant. At least I can get some food there."
    So he went home. His father saw him from very far away, and ran down the road to welcome his son home. He hugged him and welcomed him!

    The son felt ashamed. "Father, I have acted so lousy to you, I do not deserve to be your son." But the father did not listen, he hugged his son and welcomed him home. They had a big feast! The father said--"my son was lost, but now he is home again!"

    The story is really about God and us. The Father in the story is GOD. The son who ran away from home is US, when we sin and do not pay attention to God. But God always wants to be our friend. God always wants to welcome us home, just like the father in the story! Maybe we feel we are rotten sinners. But God loves us a lot!

    Do you understand the "parable" now? All of the parables are like that. We learn from reading stories.

    Here is  a test for you: Can you find a parable in the Gospel of Luke?

    Try Luke chapter 14: 15-24. Can you find other parables?


    Syracuse Area

    St Lucy's church is beginning the rebuilding process. Since the Labor Day storm wrecked their church, many friends have sent money to help. If you want to help St Lucy's, you can send a check to: St Lucy's Church, 432 Gifford Street, Syracuse NY 13204.

    Utica -Rome Area

    Our local ICDA chapter 102 is planning many activities. We will have a special dinner after Mass on Sunday Nov 22. We will have the Beanie Baby Raffle with a party, in December. The profit will help us go to the convention in Toronto. Get your tickets now!

    Binghamton Area


    Fr Owens, pastor of St Patrick's Church, Binghamton, died in October. He had cancer. He was one of  the most loved and "famous" priests in the Binghamton area. He was also a good friend of our Deaf group. For many years, Fr Owens was pastor at St James parish in Johnson City. At that church, he met many deaf people. He cared about our deaf group. He always was ready to help us with anything we needed. The funeral was very big, Everyone could not fit in the church. The funeral was on the Bnghamton cable TV.  Many thousands of people watched the Mass on TV in their homes. Lu Folmar was in the church  to interpret for our deaf group. Fr Owens, we already miss you so much!


    Our Catholic Faith
    Jesus in the Gospels

    This year we are learning about the life of Jesus in our family religious education class.
    There are so many important things we learn from Jesus.

    One lesson we can learn is that the story of Jesus is the story about the life of a human person. Sometimes, especially when things are going badly, it is possible that God seems far away. The story of Jesus reminds us how close God is, how much God loves and understands us.

    Jesus lived in a real family, in a real town. He learned how to talk from his family. His mother and father watched him walk his first steps. He joined in celebrations with family and friends. He understood the meaning of love, fear, pride, sadness, and temptation. That is why he had so much compassion for people who trouble in life. Jesus understands!

    Remember this when you read a Bible story. Remember Jesus really lived  in our world. When you read a Bible story about Jesus, stop and think. Take a few minutes to make a picture of that
    story in your mind. can you do that?  Imagine how Jesus face looked. Imagine talking with Jesus-- how does that make you feel?  Know that Jesus is really with you-- always!


    An Attitude of Gratitude Fr Pete Williams

    November is a month for people in the USA to give thanks to God. We have a national day of Thanksgiving every year. I think people need to learn more about how to be thankful.

    For us Christians, everyday is a day to give thanks. We praise God in the morning, all day, and in the evening. We give thanks to God as we gather for meals. Right?  If you are not doing this everyday, you need to improve! Giving thanks to God (we call this "GRATITUDE") -- is an important part of faith.

    For example, look at the Mass. We give God thanks and praise all through the prayers in church on Sunday.

    people answer"WE LIFT-UP FINISHED"
    the priest signs "LET US GIVE THANKS TO LORD, OUR GOD"
    and the people sign "RIGHT! GIVE-TO-GOD THANKS PRAISE!"

    Yes, that is what we do all through the Mass. We should do that all the time in our lives.

    When people go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, ("Confession"), often they admit they are impatient with people. Or they say "I am often angry, grouchy, in a bad mood."
    I tell people, "That is not the real problem." "You are grouchy because you are not grateful enough." When we find ourselves often in a bad mood and impatient with other people, it is a good isea to stop and think.

    think about all your blessings. Is God doing good things for you in your life? Did you stop to notice the sunshine, the fresh air of a cool breeze, raindrops on the leaves, or a snowfall sparkling in the moonlight?

    When we remember to see all the beautiful people and things God gives us, we can stop being grouchy. We can see, "Yes, I need to give God thanks! God really loves me!"