There are many diocesan disability directors across the country who have put together substantial networks, programs and resources. We want to highlight them and share the innovative components of disability ministry that are featured on their websites.
Below is the current diocese that we are spotlighting with a sample of their programs and resources as featured on their websites. For a compilation of all the resources we have collected from the Spotlights, go to http://www.ncpd.org/dionetresources.
Spotlight: April 4, 2016
The Office for Persons with Disabilities
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD) is a well developed office with strong parish integration and programs in a couple of key areas. Their website is clean and
modern looking and easy to navigate. To visit their website click here.
Parish Contact Program
One of the strengths of their program looks to be the "Parish Contact Program", a synopsis of which is below.
Currently, over 110 Parish Contacts act on behalf of parishioners with disabilities to assist the pastor in his role of inviting people to full membership and to share fully in the life of the parish. Each contact is appointed by the pastor to serve as a liaison between persons with disabilities and their parish and between the parish and the Office for Persons with Disabilities.
Parish Contact Workshops: The Office for Persons with Disabilities provides support, resources, and training through Parish Contact Workshops held at accessible locations throughout the Archdiocese at least twice a year.
To visit the Parish Contact Program webpage, click here.
As one of the oldest dioceses in the country (1808) and one with a high percentage of Catholics (36.6%), Philadelphia has a robust education system and the OPD collaborates with the other offices to work for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in catechetical formation and the reception of the sacraments. Below is a brief synopsis of this area of ministry.
"The Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD) collaborates with the Office of Catechetical Formation (OCF)to assist parishes in access and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in parish religious education programs. The staff of OCF and OPD work together to: gather, develop, and share resources to assist DRE/CRE’s and catechists; promote the Religious Education model of inclusion for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; and provide ongoing educational and professional development for catechists and Directors and Coordinators of Religious Education in the area of inclusion. The OPD also collaborates with the Office for Divine Worshipin welcoming persons with disabilities to full participation in the Sacraments."
To visit the Inclusive Faith Formation Page click here.
Resources for Inclusive Parish Religious Education Program (PREP)
The Apostolate is so developed in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that it has its own website. To visit the website click here.
In the website you will find the following main features:
- A listing of Deaf Community Masses in American Sign Language
- A listing of Priest Chaplains who are able to celebrate Mass in American Sign Language, and who are available to assist with the Scraments of Baptism and Marriage
- Weekly religious education and preparation for the Sacraments programs
- Interpreters for Archdiocesan and Parish Events: Forms to request interpreters for Mass or funerals, a form to tell about a Mass that is interpreted; a posted ASL Interpreter Policy
- Resources and Links for the Deaf Apostolate, including a Newsletter and information about Deaf Catholic Lay Organizations
General Trainings: Staff and volunteers can assist in coordinating and giving presentations on topics related to the meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities with parishes, schools and parish religious education programs. To visit the Resources page click here.
Awareness/Sensitivity Workshops: Experiential and attitudinal aspects of disabilities can be explored within schools or for parish staff/parishioners.
Lily's Gift: is a network of concerned parents and professionals who have experienced or worked closely with issues surrounding poor prenatal diagnosis. A collaboration of the Office for Persons with Disabilities, Catholic Social Services and the Office of Life and Family, this service can provide a peer support team to assist couples during this critical time.
This is a three-day, two-night retreat for adults with disabilities that will give participants a meaningful Christian Retreat experience. This retreat is geared for adults with mental, physical, emotional, social, or economic disabilities. Liturgies, presentations and communal prayer will be conducted in a serene environment together with comfortable, accessible facilities. For information about the retreat click here.
Mother’s Retreat & Father’s Retreat
An Annual Retreat for Mother’s of Children with Disabilitiesis held each year in the Spring usually the week before Mother’s Day. We invite mothers and grandmothers raising children with disabilities and also those who have adult children with disabilities to attend this weekday retreat on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. For information about this retreat click here.
The First Retreat Day for Fathers of Children with Disabilities will be held this year at St. Charles Seminary on April 30, 2015. Fathers and Grandfathers will come together for a time to pray, reflect and chat with one another. For information about this retreat click here.
Masses for Persons with Disabilities
The Annual Archdiocesan Eucharistic Liturgy with Persons with Disabilities, The Deaf Community, Family, Friends and Caregivers: This annual liturgy is held once a year at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul at 18th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia is the principal celebrant and homilist. A light reception is held following the Mass. All are Welcome. We encourage parish participation and individuals/parish groups to volunteer in assisting with all aspects of the Mass and reception.
There is also a monthly inclusion Mass at St. John Chrysostom, Wallingford - at a regularly-scheduled Sunday liturgy.