Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

Ministry-Disabled

Parish Support

 

Ministry - Disabled 

 Ensuring that every human being has the support they need to participate in the life of the Church is a primary responsibility for every parish. A person with a disability may have an impairment that presents challenges to engaging in central parts of ecclesial life such as participation in the sacraments and religious education, attending Church meetings, or engaging in social or community service gatherings. 

 

Parishes should listen to seek to understand these individuals who are experiencing challenges and work to provide them with the support they need. Do not be discouraged or intimidated if you are asked to provide services for an individual who has an impairment that you are unfamiliar with. Every parish must start somewhere! Here are some suggestions to guide your efforts.

Begin with one individual

  • Assuring that your parish is accessible to all people may seem to be an overwhelming task. It is important to remember that ministering to members of your Church is most successful by encountering individuals one at a time.
  • The needs of a person with a disability differ significantly based on their experiences, personality, and diagnosis. Two persons with autism, for example, could respond to certain forms of catechesis in completely different ways. The best way to learn how to accommodate a person with a disability is to learn about them as an individual.

Communication

  • Listening is always the first step to aiding the formation of an individual with a disability to be a disciple in your parish. Express your desire to learn from them as well as their parents and other professionals about the interests, abilities, and needs of the individual. Meet with the individual or their parents one on one, or have them fill out a form which seeks to understand them on a deeper level.