SALT LAKE CITY — The annual Catholics Can Mass, which highlights the gifts of disabled people in the diocese and their many contributions in their parishes, will be celebrated by Bishop Oscar A. Solis on Sept. 15 at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church.
A second Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 20 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 1373 E. Spring Lane, Salt Lake City.
As part of this year’s celebration, Randy Duran of Price will be honored with the Catholics Can award for his participation at Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish. Duran, 31, who lost the use of his left arm due to a childhood car accident, regularly volunteers for all the parish’s fundraising events — cooking, cleaning or doing whatever is needed. He also mows the church lawn and has participated in other projects.
“Randy is handicapped, but one would never know it by the numerous hours of volunteering that he has performed throughout the years,” wrote parish secretary Elisha Pehler in her nomination of Duran.
“Randy is a very spiritual individual. Randy and his grandmother attend Mass together every Sunday. His faith is the major part of his life. Randy is one of the kindest human beings that I have ever met,” she wrote. “Wherever he sees a need, Randy is there. I can’t say enough about this wonderful young man. If anyone deserves this award, it is Randy Duran.”
“He is such a faith-minded young man; he is shy and so kindhearted,” Duran’s pastor Fr. Rafael Murillo wrote in support of his nomination.
Duran, who has never received an award of any kind, said, “I think it’s pretty cool,” being chosen for the Catholics Can Award.
While he appreciates the award, he downplayed his contribution to the parish.
“I just like helping out any way I can,” he said.
Father John Norman and St. Vincent de Paul Parish will also be recognized with the award for their efforts to include individuals with disabilities.
“Fr. Norman and the community at St. Vincent’s have always been very welcoming and accommodating to people with disabilities,” wrote Mindi Allen in her nomination of Fr. Norman and the parish.
For the last 25 years, the parish has provided an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for the Sunday 9 a.m. Masses. In addition, St. Vincent’s was one of the first parishes to offer Assisted Listening Devices for hard-of-hearing parishioners and provides a closed loop system for Masses. Also, the recent church renovation included several modifications to assist people with disabilities: A ramp to access the sanctuary was added to allow people with physical limitations to serve as liturgical ministers, new lighting was installed to aid visually impaired parishioners, and the church’s main entry door and the restroom were updated to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Fr. Norman’s acceptance of and inclusion of the hearing impaired and Deaf in our church has been done in a natural, comfortable fashion,” Allen wrote. “This being the case, the other members of the parish responded in kind.”
“We are very honored,” Fr. Norman said of being chosen to receive the award. “We want everyone to have easy access to the sacrament and parish life. We had the opportunity with the renovation to accommodate those people who are very important to us.”
With a large number of retirement and rehabilitation centers within the parish boundaries, many parishioners have a need for the changes that have been implemented at the church, Fr. Norman said.
The honorees will be announced at the Catholics Can Masses.
To accommodate those attending the Masses, interpreters will be provided, along with CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation), which will be shown on a screen.
The Catholics Can Mass is sponsored by the diocesan Commission for People with Disabilities. The commission organized the first Catholics Can Mass in 2008 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. The commission is looking for children and young adults who would be willing to learn sign language so they could provide that service at Mass at more parishes.