When Randy Hain, my editor at Integrated Catholic Life, discovered that my husband and I have an autistic son, he sent us not one, but two copies of Special Children, Blessed Fathers, his book for fathers of children with special needs.
Thanks, Randy. We are grateful!
Special Children, Blessed Fathers features a collection of essays from several Catholic men whose children face everything from Down syndrome to autism to spina bifida to (in the case of author Kevin Lowry’s son) heterotaxy and Polysplenia Syndrome, “conditions so rare that our pediatrician hadn’t even heard of them” (pg. 24). Also in the book are reflections on Christian fathering from Hain and interviews with professionals working with special-needs children.
As I read, I found myself nodding in agreement at several points. Turns out I’m not the only one who is sometimes frustrated with my child or is hurt by other people’s dirty looks. Turns out I’m not the only one who worries about my son’s future. Turns out I’m not the only one with an autistic child who likes to “direct” Mass from the pew, at the top of his lungs!
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But each contributor also shared how God was at work in his particular situation. Themes of patience, acceptance, sacrifice, and God’s provision ran throughout. Some offered helpful advice. Some led with their weakness and let their stories tell it all.
Special Children, Blessed Fathers is, to quote Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, “a must-read for all fathers in the present culture in which the pull of selfishness has seriously harmed the great Catholic paternal legacy of generosity and sacrificial self-giving.” I heartily agree, and I will only add that it’s a must-read for mothers, too.
Note: All royalties from the sale of Special Children, Blessed Fathers are donated to the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (www.ncpd.org) to support the work they do promoting greater participation of persons with disabilities in the Catholic Church.
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Copyright 2016 Rhonda Ortiz
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