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Faith and Light: 

Celebrating God’s special people

 They are God’s special people, smiles and laughter alighting their faces as they gather at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City, family and friends in tow.

   This is Faith and Light,  a time and a place when those with developmental and intellectual challenges can come together  in a non-threatening atmosphere of faith, fun and friendship.

   Leading the group for the past nine years have been Virginia and Frank Sumaya; starting at the Nov. 19 gathering, Claudia Lucero will assume the leadership of Faith and Light, following in the footsteps of the Sumayas. 

   Faith and Light is a program for people of all ages who are developmentally or intellectually challenged, and their family and friends.

   Lucero is the mother of two grown daughters and a son Tim, 11, a fifth grader at Sacred Heart School. This is their third year in Dodge City.  Faith and Light meetings are held once a month at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

   “Faith and Light is for all denominations and is for the entire community,” Virginia explained. “Meetings for parents and their children are held on the third Sunday of the month.”

   Virginia will work as a recruiter for Faith and Light in the community, including reaching out to other denominations.  She also will attend the USA West Conference of Faith and Light in San Antonio in May.

   “Faith and Light is a non-denominational program,” she explained, “so we recruit other denominations to participate.  A new group of Faith and Light is starting Wichita, Coffeyville and Hutchinson.”

   Virginia shared her collection of different kinds of crosses and their history with those who attended the Dodge City gathering.  Her husband Frank also shared his thoughts with the group.

   “What is it that the cross is?” he asked.  “Jesus came to teach us to love one another–even our enemies.  He wants you to enter into a relationship with God, to be in union with him all the time so that people will see Christ in you.”

   What Frank called “the most beautiful Sign of the Cross” [during Mass when we cross our forehead, lips and chest] means “May the word of God be always on my mind, on my lips and in my heart. How powerful that is!”

   To treat others with mercy and forgiveness is hard to do sometimes, he acknowledged. 

   “People think it’s hard to enter into Heaven, but it’s not a complex thing. The most important and wonderful hug one will ever receive is when Christ welcomes you into His kingdom with the words, ‘Welcome home for your wonderful service to Me and to your brothers and sisters.

   “You are never alone, even when you are alone,” Frank said.  “Jesus is always with us.”

            The Sumayas are looking for volunteers who would like to help out at Faith and Light gatherings. They encourage other parishes to start their own Faith and Light group. For information, call Virginia at (620) 682-0455.

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