The Friendship Circle Creates Friendships For People With Special Needs

“It’s a lot of joy and it helped defined the character of our family,” Chani Baram said. “It created craziness but also fun.”

Baram grew up with four younger brothers and three were diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome, which is a genetic condition that causes intellectual and learning disabilities in addition to behavioral problems.

According to Baram, her husband Rabbi Zev Baram, as a teen befriended a boy with special needs. He enjoyed the friendship and decided to enrich the lives of children and teens with special needs as an adult. Once married, the couple decided to start the Friendship Circle in the Philadelphia area.

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Despite Difficulties, LGBT Catholics Remain Positive During World Meetings of Families and Pope Visit

Last weekend in Philadelphia, the World Meeting of Families was capped off by a visit from Pope Francis. It was very easy for some to participate in the WMF and papal events, but for some, it was difficult.

Equally Blessed is a coalition of four Catholic organizations across the country, which seeks to educate and inspire Catholics to take action on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people, their families, and friends. Call to Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Familes, and New Ways Ministry comprises the coalition.

Members of Equally Blessed spent many months planning the pilgrimage to Philadelphia. They were concerned about issues in the Catholic Church such as gay marriage voting, people who were fired from churches because of sexual orientation, as well as other LGBT issues. Pilgrims read the Catechesis-which was written by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family-to prepare for the Eighth World Meeting of Families. The theme was Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.

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