Pope inspires Bishop Rhoades to invigorate ministry to people with disabilities

Bishop Rhoades met with the Pope earlier this year in the Vatican.

Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) Inspired by the example of Pope Francis, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend plans to reinvigorate the Diocese’s outreach to people with disabilities. “What the Pope is calling us to do is reach out to those who are most vulnerable. He’s not just talking about the materially poor but those who are forgotten or having a rough time.  We need to embrace them as our beloved brothers and sisters because that is what Pope Francis is showing us to do,” said Bishop Rhoades. He said that much of the work is already done by Catholic Outreach, but there is still much more that the church can be doing at the Diocese level. He said that will be one of his priorities after returning home.

The Bishop returned to Fort Wayne late Monday night after a week long trip that started in Washington D.C. and ended in Philadelphia. He was there to take part in the World Meeting of Families. The Reidy family, along with 15 other Fort Wayne families, was there as well.

Jeremy and Becky Reidy and kids.
Jeremy and Becky Reidy and kids.

“It was definitely crazy like I thought it was going to be, but it was a safe crazy. Philadelphia did such a good job with safety,” said Becky Reidy. Reidy, her husband and five young children left for the east coast more than a week ago and planned to participate in the conference, celebrate mass with Pope Francis, and hopefully catch a glimpse of him as he rode by in his pope-mobile. “The girls, the older girls were right up against the barricade. So front row seats to the Pope. And seeing their faces at that moment was something I’ll always remember and they’ll always remember as well,” said Jeremy Reidy.

Jeremy and Becky say the trip was more than a sightseeing adventure, it was a learning experience for the entire family. “Just walking around the hallways of the convention center there were people speaking all different languages; Vietnamese, Italian, Spanish. And there were small families and people without children. We met a family with eight kids coming from Wyoming. It was a family feeling,” said Becky Reidy.

Bishop Rhoades had similar sentiments.  “It was a little crazy but everyone was so happy and so nice to each other. Kind. The whole mood of the people was affected by Pope Francis’ visit,” said Bishop Rhoades. He hopes the celebratory atmosphere and kindness will last now that the Pope has left the country. In particular, he said he hopes families that consider themselves Catholic but have stopped attending church will return to their parishes.  “Pope Francis exudes goodness. He exemplifies the goodness of the human spirit. There is something about the charisma of Pope Francis that is really touching a lot of people,” said Bishop Rhoades.



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