Deacon Starts Program for the Prevention of Disabilities in Youth Sports

Deacon Don Grossnickle,
Vicariate One Director of Outreach
Persons with Disability, Archdiocese of Chicago

Deacon expands ministry to support
the prevention of disabilities in youth sports.

In 1999 Deacon Don Grossnickle of the Archdiocese of Chicago was prompted to help a young high school football player who was paralyzed after a spinal cord and brain injury. His parish-based diaconal ministry was expanded as he was assigned to vicariate-based leadership exploring ways to better outreach and connect Church and persons with disabilities.

Deacon Don top row left 2nd person and his “Community Alliance for Sport Safety” Board of Directors
This ministry for the vicariate expanded to focus attention in Illinois and nation on disability and student athlete injury prevention and sport safety. He helped found the Community Alliance for Sport Safety which is a nonprofit. The organization pursues the dual mission of helping paralyzed student athletes and family members embrace the brokenness that comes associated with catastrophic injury via a mentoring outreach program, and promote injury prevention.
Now Deacon Grossnickle is organizing on-line Internet-based educational seminars that promote the learning and sharing of ideas that can reduce or eliminate athletic injuries for student athletes. Grossnickle helped pass: “Rocky’s Law” which is an Illinois requirement now that forces schools to provide insurance for high school athletes.
Grossnickle now seeks the help of all those concerned with disability to help him design and implement the on-line webinars that can reach student athletes, parents, coaches, and certified athletic trainers. This is a brand new mission and holds great promise. See the Community Alliance for Sport Safety web site for more information. Deacon Don encourages all to visit the web site and join in the mission to support injured athletes and families and help prevent disabilities right from the start.




Support NCPD through Giving Tuesday


You’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where millions of Americans shop for deals in stores and online. Now NCPD wants to invite you to participate in a global day of giving back called Giving Tuesday.  Become part of this movement of millions of people around the world who donate to a charity or non-profit organization in order to support the needs of those in their local, national or global community.  The goal of Giving Tuesday is to donate to a cause that you believe in and then encourage your friends and family to do the same by spreading the word through social media, email, or simply having a conversation about the cause you donated to and why you think others should support the cause as well. NCPD is asking for your support this Giving Tuesday through financial donations to support our work and mission.      Thank you.






NCPD Presents at Vatican Conference on Autism

NCPD in Rome

Leaders from the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) will present their findings on best practices in pastoral care on Friday, November 21 …sharing US stories of hope, challenge and innovative faith formation with Vatican officials in Rome.

Click below for Press Release.


Loyola Award Winner 2014

The National Catholic Partnership on Disability, in partnership with Loyola Press, is pleased to announce St. John Neumann Parish in Lilburn, Georgia as the winner of this year’s Loyola Press Parish Award.

St. John Neumann Parish has gone above and beyond to make their sacred space accessible to all who worship there. The sacred space maintains its beauty and purpose while being accessible to all and allows for persons with physical disabilities to worship and minister at their parish. It is not a separate space or program; it is an organic part of the church and the community.

For more information visit the parish Facebook page at or read more at the press release at the link below.


Prayers of the Faithful for Mental Illness Awareness Week

Prayers of the Faithful

For your children who are living with mental illness, we pray to the Lord.

For those who are troubled in mind and spirit, we pray to the Lord.

For those suffering from mental illness; May they be healed through the mercy of the Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord.

For priest, deacons, religious and parishioners; May they grow stronger in their love and commitment to individuals and their families living with a mental illness, we pray to the Lord.

For the unity and mission of the Holy Church; that it may welcome and serve those who live with a mental illness, we pray to the Lord.






Prayer for Mental Illness Awareness Week

 October 5 to 11 is Mental Illness Awareness week. One in five families are affected by mental illnesses. For one in 17 it is serious and persistent. Our spirituality is a key component in the recovery process along with good mental and physical healthcare. In addition to our sacramental life, daily prayer is important. We offer this prayer to be said for supporting wellness and wholeness in our lives.

  1. I will recall that I am a child of God.  I am one who is created out of Love.  I am chosen, good, holy and have purpose...a task to perform here on Earth before I return to the Father.  I deserve to be treated as a person who has value and dignity.
  2. I will embrace my illness or my family member’s illness as a friend this day looking for what it is teaching me about the mystery of God and Life.
    • ]I will not allow the stigma of mental illness to defeat me this day.  I will choose to have power over stigma by detaching myself from the stigma.
    1. I will talk to someone today who will encourage me to see my goodness and holiness as a child of God.  Maybe we will share a prayer together for one another.
    2. I will look for humor and reasons to laugh and be happy.  Quiet joy will be my goal.
    3. I will read a passage from Scripture or something from a book of devotion, inspiration or spiritual reading that will encourage me to trust and hope in the power and love of God.
    4. I will seek twenty minutes of solitude, silence, prayer this day.  If my mind won’t quiet down, if my thoughts keep racing, I will offer that as my prayer to God.  If necessary and helpful, I will listen to soothing instrumental music or inspirational/religious music to quiet me and remind me that God is present.
    5. I will walk outdoors marveling at a sunrise, a sunset, the song of a bird, the soothing colors of nature...the serenity of green grass, a blue sky, the softness of the pastel colored blossoms of Springtime and the peaceful waters of a river, lake or stream that ripple and flow.  I will remind myself that everything in nature is a reflection of the Creator and pleases the Creator just as it is and so do I just as I am.
    6. I will delight in the knowledge that we are each created different because it is in our differences we make a more powerful and beautiful whole.  We each reflect a different aspect of the mystery of Life and God.  Individually and together we are a Masterpiece!
    7. In God is my hope and my joy.  I will give honor, glory and praise to God knowing and trusting what God has in store for me.  We do not seek or like suffering but our suffering can make us strong in many ways and more compassionate and loving to others...our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
    Knowing for sure that although I long for God, God’s longing for me is even greater.  I will rest in that knowledge this day. Amen
                                                   By Rita Sebastian Lambert
                                                                   Workshop on Spirituality 
    To download the pdf of this page click here.



Prayer Service for Mental Illness

 Prayer Service for National Day of Recovery and Understanding 

Clergy prays in Church with people

In 1990, the United States Congress designated the first full week in October as Mental Illness Awareness Week.  It has become customary to have Tuesday of that week be recognized as a National Day of Prayer for Recovery and Understanding in the hope that the faith communities would add their spiritual richness to the public observance.
This year, the day of prayer falls on Tuesday, October 7, which is also the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  The National Catholic Partnership on Disability/Council on Mental Illness invites you to turn to Mary on that day, asking for her intercession.  We have prepared a sample prayer service to help you; use it as is, adapt it for your parish or group, or let the Spirit guide you to create your own.
The NCPD’s Mental Illness Network will come together at 3:00 pm that day (CDT) for a 30-minute prayer service via telephone.  We also invite all of you, to pause at that time and pray the 1st Glorious Mystery, The Resurrection, as a sign of our belief that through Christ suffering is redeemed.
To register for call, click here.
(Click here for instructions on how to pray the Rosary) 
See prayer service by clicking here.

Mental Illness Awareness Week



For information on Mental Illness Awareness Week 2014 and the National Day of Prayer and Recovery, click the button below.



Summer Prescription for Ministry Leaders

 Get your summer prescription here!

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NCPD Staff Person Wins National Award

Dr. Nancy Thompson awarded the Distinguished Service Award for 2014 by the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership 

May 21, 2014, St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Nancy receives award from Bill Miller, President of the NCCL Board of Directors.
Dr. Nancy Thompson and
the late Lee Nagel, Executive Director NCCL

Dr. Thompson, the Director of Programs and Diocesan Relations for the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) and a leader in disability ministry received this prestigious award at the NCCL annual convention held May 19 - 22  in St. Louis, Missouri.

The award recognizes and applauds Dr. Thompson’s many years in developing catechetical materials to serve the needs of children and adults with disabilities.  Through her work, thousands of peoples have encountered the Good News of Jesus.

“Dr. Thompson’s energetic leadership at NCPD and her deep faith have benefited the entire church by creating practical, uplifting tools for catechesis and sacramental preparation for children and adults with many types of disabilities,” said Susanna Herro, Chairman of the Board of NCPD.

Since joining the staff of NCPD in 2007, Dr. Thompson has infused her work with the professionalism gained by earning her doctorate in applied ministries in 2000 with an emphasis that included ministry with people having disability. Her rich faith life, as a Discalced Carmelite Secular brings an additional dimension to her efforts. An area where she excels is providing countless hours of consultation to diocesan and parish staff.  Tom Racunas, Director of the Ministry with Persons with Disabilities for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas said, “Dr. Thompson’s assessment of the status of the office of this ministry along with her loving and patient guidance was invaluable to me as a new director in 2010!  Dr. Thompson continues to be a resource and mentor to me.”

In an endeavor that will prove extremely valuable to the future church, Dr. Thompson has guided the volunteer professionals and family members of the NCPD’s Autism Task Force (ATF).  New catechetical and sacramental preparation resources to educate students on the autism spectrum and/or with intellectual and developmental disability will soon be available on the NCPD website,

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