To serve and support parishes in facilitating opportunities for a relationship with Christ by ensuring the fullest participation possible in the Catholic faith for all parishioners regardless of ability.
— Adopted by the Office of Special Needs Advisory Council July, 2017
All means ALL…
Because “The Church firmly believes that Christ, who died and was raised up for all, can through His Spirit, offer man the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme destiny.” (Gaudium et Spes para. 10) The Ministry for Special Needs strives to empower and equip parishes to encounter its members who have a disability so that they may be sanctified by the Church and in turn the Church may be sanctified by them.
- All life is sacred and precious.
- All of us deserve to be treated with the fullest measure of dignity and respect.
- All of us have gifts that we are called to share with each other.
Our Ministry is growing, and we want your help in building a Church that is accessible to all!
The work of the ministry will be grounded in the vision of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops as expressed in the Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities  and reaffirmed in Welcome and Justice  See www.ncpd.org. Under the guidance of the Archbishop, the ministry will align its goals and objectives with the five year pastoral priorities of the (conversion, evangelization, all forms of Catholic education, outreach to those in need and stewardship) and the three key initiatives through 2017 (building a culture of evangelization, strengthening the vocation of marriage and family life, and cultivating relationships by engaging in corporal and spiritual works of mercy).
In general, the mission of the Special Needs Ministry is to help each parish ensure the fullest participation possible for all parishioners in the life of the parish regardless of type, severity or age of onset of a disability.
The Special Needs Ministry works to provide the following:
- Awareness information and/or workshops on types of disability and how a parish family can respond to needs.
- Assistance with the development and implementation of outreach and support systems for people with disabilities, their families and caregivers.
- Resources, curriculum and training for parents, catechists, and volunteers to provide sacramental preparation, on-going faith formation, participation in liturgies, and participation in the social life of the church.
- Practical information and education for persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers regarding available community services and supports.
- Accessibility assessments of the parish campus. “The world does not become better because only apparently ‘perfect’ – not to mention fake – people live there but when human solidarity, mutual acceptance and respect increase. . . . Each of us, sooner or later, is called to face—at times painfully—frailty and illness, both our own and those of others.”—Pope Francis, Mass for the Jubilee of the Sick and Persons with Disabilities, June 2016 “When we think of persons with disabilities in relation to ministries, we tend automatically to think of doing something for them. We do not reflect that they can do something for us and with us. . . they have the same duty as all members of the community to do the Lord’s work in the world, according to their God given talents and capacities.” —Pastoral Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities, no.17, NOD, 2001