The purpose of the Office for Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities is to affirm the Baptismal promise of individuals with disabilities to participate in the life and mission of the Church and the Church’s promise to support each person in this, by working on structures to support this at the parish level through collaboration with parish and archdiocesan leadership. It does this through: Education, Advocacy, and Affirmation. It also seeks to support families on their faith journey. This includes individuals with intellectual/developmental, learning, emotional, mobility and vision disabilities, blindness and mental illness.
This work is 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 the mission of the Archdiocese of Newark.
The goal is to empower parishes to support access into all aspects of the communal life of the Church through engagement, relationship and appropriate supports to encourage persons with disabilities to grow, flourish and serve as part of the Body of Christ and to feel a true sense of belonging.
Areas of focus:
- Seeks to reach out to individuals with disabilities and their families, to support participation in: liturgy, the Sacraments, catechesis, faith formation, ministry, evangelization, social life and mission of the church, at the local and universal level.
- Seeks to diminish the sense of isolation felt by individuals with disabilities and their families.
- Seeks to support the efforts of local parish leadership to encourage meaningful participation of individuals with disabilities.
Active Projects Include:
Collaboration with parishes on inclusion strategies; inclusion of people with developmental and learning disabilities in religious education and the Sacramental life of the church, which includes: catechist training and support; resource development and adaptation for catechesis and preparation for the Sacraments; Attends Mass, a program to teach individuals with Autism to attend Mass is expanding based on available Mass Mentors and Mass Buddys. Family Support: outreach to parents and faith-based support groups. Website-based support.