All Are Welcome

Being involved in your community isn’t just good for your mind and body; it also helps you live longer. Many Gabriel Homes residents stay in touch with their friends through their communities.

Some friend groups have lasted for years because of the support of organizations like St. John Neumann Church (SJN) in Reston.

SJN’s saying is “all are welcome.” The church accepts people of all backgrounds, including adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some are a part of the ministries and youth groups, and others serve as officers for committees. 

Many residents meet every other Sunday at SJN to read the gospel and attend Mass. The early birds regroup after services and eat breakfast together, hosted by the Knights of Columbus.  

“St. John Neumann is a great parish because it’s inclusive to everybody,” said George Dellagiarino, a long-time volunteer at SJN. “The residents feel part of the community and feel recognized through all the ways they can get involved.”

One resident, Rich, wears many hats for SJN. He’s an officer for the local Knights of Columbus chapter and church choir member. Occasionally, he sits in on adapted religious education classes. The program teaches the Catholic faith and shares the gospel to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Rich, who’s friends with a few students in the class, helps with tasks like passing out workbooks.

“I’m happy at Saint John Neumann. It's the best Catholic church around, and I have a lot of friends here. It’s the heart of Reston.”

Sarah, a resident at Gabriel Homes, meeting the Archbishop.
Gabriel Homes resident at church.

Bob and Joanne Abbott, two SJN members, consider Rich a close friend of theirs. 

“He comes over for Easter with our whole family, and he supports members when they’ve lost somebody,” Bob said. “He does the kinds of things that long-time friends do.” 

Whether meeting for Mass or stepping up in committees during the week, the residents have built lifelong bonds with the SJN community. SJN, in turn, has stepped up to let them leave their marks on the church. 

“When you see Gabriel Homes at Mass, you see the community come together around them,” Joanne said. “The residents are such valuable members to the church because they give so much of their time to you.” 

Now that you know about Sunday mornings, see what a day in the life is like for our residents on weekdays.