Since 2007, Knights across the U.S. have been having “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drives to raise funds for the delivery of wheelchairs. Beginning with Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Pasadena, California where Fr. Gerard O’Brien coined the phrase “Wheelchair Sunday,” this program has spread to several states and is catching on quickly.
The first 5 parish drives in Southern California raised enough money to sponsor the delivery of 1,000 brand new wheelchairs and added more than 150 new Knights to the local membership.
With a presentation and video about the mission during the homily and then a second collection, parishioners have become involved and thanked the pastors for bringing this wonderful ministry to them. Some presentations were done in an adjoining hall after the mass, but the most exposure to the mission and the Knights involved is when it was done during the mass. Parishioners have made comments like “This puts a face on the Knights for us. Now we really know what they do.” Young men commented that they had never considered the Knights because they really did not know enough about them, but in every parish young gentlemen have joined councils as a result of these drives.
The Knights at St. Mark the Evangelist in San Antonio, Texas held a parish drive and raised enough money to sponsor the delivery of 400 brand new wheelchairs to needy recipients in Nuevo Laredo, MX. The first shipping container of 280 wheelchairs was delivered by the Knights from St. Marks and across Texas in late February, and the second shipment will be delivered in Nuevo Laredo October 16-18, 2009. This is a hands on project between Knights and clergy in the U.S. and Mexico that is changing lives of people in desperate need of mobility.
One of the most common and wonderful reactions we receive from the recipients of the wheelchairs and their families is that we have just answered their prayers. Tears of joy flow with a heartfelt embrace or clasp of hands, and we know we are doing God’s work on earth.
Children with physical disabilities can go to school for the first time, adults can go to work and provide for their families, and the elderly can get out of a bed they may have been in for years and rejoin society.
To learn more about how you can hold a “Wheelchair Sunday” parish drive at your church, please contact Brother Dan Moberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 457-0745.
Please view the official Wheelchair Sunday booklet below for more details, or to download a copy for printing and sharing with your local Knights council.