Persons with Disabilities
All Are Welcome
The Archdiocesan Office with Persons with Disabilities fulfills the Archdiocese’s spirit that “All Are Welcome,” most importantly, people with disabilities. The Office with Persons with Disabilities and these ministries are here to serve you as you intentionally welcome and include people of all abilities in the life of the Church in Chicago.
This Office brings together the various ministries of the Archdiocese of Chicago that provide for the participation of individuals with disabilities and their families in all aspects of parish life:
- Commission on Mental Illness
- Faith and Fellowship
- Misericordia Home
- Office of the Deaf
- Spred (Special Religious Development)
- Pathways.org Inclusion In Worship
The Office with Persons with Disabilities and these ministries are here to serve you as you intentionally welcome and include people of all abilities in the life of the Church in Chicago.
The Catholic Office of the Deaf, part of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is responsible for the pastoral care of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, as well as their families, in the Archdiocese of Chicago. This pastoral care of the deaf involves:
Sacramental ministry of the Church
Religious education of children
Information & referral
Formation & training in ministerial leadership
Guarantee of communication access to worship and all other activities of the Catholic Church.
Fr. Joseph Mulcrone
3525 South Lake Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60653
The Office of the Deaf is responsible for the pastoral care of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, as well as their families, in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Deacon Tom Lambert
Faith and Fellowship
Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness
The Commission is part of the Chicago Archdiocesan Pastoral Network with Persons with Disabilities. Its purpose is to educate and resource parishes on the spiritual and supportive needs of persons with serious mental illnesses such as bi-polar disease, major depressive illnesses, schizophrenia, and personality disorders, among others. Since mental illness not only affects the individual with the disease but also family members, the needs of the entire family are addressed.
In carrying out its mission of making the Church a more loving, inclusive, and supportive place for people with mental illness and their families, the Commission networks and collaborates with parishes, other diocesan agencies, the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities/Council on Mental Illness, and a variety of public organizations.
Faith and Fellowship
The mission of Faith and Fellowship is to provide opportunities for prayer and faith sharing in a format tailored to the unique needs of people living with a mental illness. Recognizing the isolation they may often experience, Faith and Fellowship strives to offer a welcoming sense of belonging through the formation of communities of faith, and by fostering inclusion in the life and activities of the parish community. Faith and Fellowship groups consist of 10 to 15 adults including approximately equal numbers of members with a mental illness and volunteers from local churches. They meet semi-weekly as partners in prayer and socialization.
For more information contact Connie Rakitan, 708.383.9276, email@example.com
Rev. Jack Clair
The mission of Misericordia Home is to support individuals with developmental disabilities in maximizing their level of independence and self-determination within an environment that fosters spirituality, dignity, respect and enhancement of quality of life.
The mission of Pathways.org Inclusion in Worship is to assist parishes to create caring parish communities where parishioners of all abilities and their families are welcomed and included in worship, liturgical ministries, religious education and social events. The goal is to weave accessibility and inclusion into the fabric of parish life. Pathways.org Inclusion In Worship provides educational materials at www.InclusionInWorship.org, annual Open Hearts Award grants of up to $1,000, annual parish Inclusion Awareness Day celebrations and parish Inclusion Representatives to help parishes welcome and include parishioners of all abilities.
- Annual Mass for Mental Illness Awareness – All are welcome to the annual Mass for mental illness awareness on October 20 at 2 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy (38 North Austin Blvd., Oak Park, IL) in support of people with mental illnesses, families, friends, and mental healthcare providers. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Faith and Fellowship, a pioneering pastoral ministry with and for adults with mental illness. For more information contact Faith and Fellowship at firstname.lastname@example.org or 708.383.9276. The Mass and hospitality afterward are sponsored by the Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness/Office for Persons with Disabilities and Faith and Fellowship
- Parish Inclusion Awareness Days – Celebrate the second weekend in October or select a convenient date for your parish - Inclusion Awareness Day is one way parishes keep access and inclusion a priority in parish life. Inclusion Awareness Day renews the parish’s commitment to access and reminds them to take steps to intentionally include parishioners of all abilities every day of the year. Planning materials and bulletin items are available at www.InclusionInWorship.org.
- Open Hearts Awards grants – Application deadline is August 1 each year - Grants of up to $1,000 are available to support access and inclusion projects in parishes, religious education programs and Catholic schools nationwide. Grants are announced the second weekend in October in conjunction with parish Inclusion Awareness Days. Application forms and more information are available by clicking here.
- Annual Mass Celebrating The Lives Of People With Mental Illness, Their Families, Friends and Mental Health Professionals – St Gertrude's Catholic Church, 6200 North Glenwood, Chicago, IL. For more information please contact: Deacon Tom Lambert at email@example.com
www.InclusionInWorship.org : Educational materials, grants, events and handouts to assist parishes and agencies of the Archdiocese of Chicago to create caring, accessible communities of faith where parishioners of all abilities and their families are welcomed and can participate in all aspects of parish life.
National Catholic Partnership on Disability
Jan Benton, Executive Director
Pastoral Statement of U.S. Bishops on People with Disabilities (Link)
Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities (Link)
Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities (Link)
National Catholic Partnership on Disability (Link)