Celebrating Mass in Sign Language

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Twice a year Bishop John joins the Deaf from around the Diocese to celebrate Mass for them in sign language.  He learned to sign many years ago when he used to sign Mass regularly for the Deaf in the Westminster Diocese.

It had been a long tradition that the Deaf, from St Joseph’s Mission to Deaf People (SJMDP), invite the Bishop to an annual Mass, which in the past would have been interpreted for the Bishop.  When Bishop John arrived into the Diocese, he said he would like to celebrate Mass for the Deaf, twice a year, and so, now we have Mass with him every six months.

Last Sunday, 18th March, we had the privilege of Bishop John joining us once again for one of these Masses.  He spent an hour the day before with one of the deaf, practicing his signing, and on the day he did very well, and the Deaf were delighted with him, making such an effort with his signing skills.

After Mass, we had a celebration in the parish centre, with food and drink available to all.  Bishop John took the time to go around every table and have his photo taken, in this way everyone has a keepsake photograph, because almost everyone was on either one picture or another.

We at St Joseph’s Mission to Deaf People, know how busy the Bishop is, and we are always grateful for his time and the care he takes in preparing for Mass with us here at St Patrick’s.  Celebrating Mass in sign language, where you have to read the wording, voice over the words and sign all at the same time is not very easy, as it’s a little like doing three things at once as well as speaking two languages at the same time!

So once again we thank Bishop John for his time and care, and we look forward to our next Mass with him in six months’ time.

Fr Jim Clarke – Chaplain to the Deaf in the Diocese And the whole team at SJMDP

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