By RAUL PINO, Special to the Bulletin | Published December 1, 2016
ATLANTA—In late August, parishioners of the Cathedral of Christ the King hosted an afternoon of food and fellowship for the residents of the L’Arche community in Atlanta. A group of alumni from the Christ Renews His Parish retreat ministry organized the event, for the second year, for the group as one of their ongoing service activities.
Preparing the meal allowed several of the CTK parishioners to showcase their talents in the barbecue department, stirring up the competitive juices among the group. But it was the music trivia game that drew out the competitive spirit in the audience—and tapped the deep recesses of their 1980s music memory.
The event all started when one of the parishioners, David Colgan, learned about L’Arche from a cousin who is involved with it in France. Colgan said, “I understood the message that L’Arche is more than just doing, it is about being. Understanding this, it became important to me to bring my family and my faith community into a relationship with the L’Arche community with something as simple as a party and some trivia.”
L’Arche is an international organization dedicated to the creation and growth of homes, programs and a support network for people with intellectual disabilities. The organization is anchored on the concept of homes where core members (individuals with disabilities) share a residence with individuals who commit to be part of a circle of support to assist them in daily life—a leading model for disability caregiving and holy friendship.
Events like the one hosted at the cathedral allow the residents of the home, non-residents with disabilities, their families, their friends and L’Arche supporters to come together with a parish community. The event is much anticipated by all involved.
Rita Haggerty, mother of a teenager with disabilities, said, “The evening was fun. The food was great. It was very convivial. My reluctant teenager did have a good time, chatting with various people and especially the dance-off at the end of the trivia contest!”
Tim Moore, executive director and community leader for L’Arche Atlanta, said, “We are so blessed to have such a special relationship with the CRHP men from Christ the King. Two years in a row they have hosted this incredible event, and each year it is remembered as one of the favorites (we do six events a year). By far my favorite part was looking across the room and seeing all the men spread out across the room breaking bread and interacting with people with disabilities. Normally, hosts tend to congregate together but this group gets that our mission is about relationship.”
The first L’Arche community was created by Jean Vanier in France in 1964 and currently has over 149 communities in 35 countries around the world. The first U.S. home was established in 1972 in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Atlanta home, located in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur, was established in 2012 and serves four core members, with hopes of expanding in the future.
For more information on L’Arche Atlanta, please contact Tim Moore at email@example.com. The website for the group is www.larcheatlanta.org.