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Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

In need of support? Let us know! Click here to take a Survey of Supports to Increase Access

2 photos from left to right. Photo 1: Grace serving food in buffet line. Photo 2: David speaking at ministry retirement.

Vision Statement

The Office exists to foster the appreciation of individuals with disabilities as indispensable members of the Body of Christ, to empower parishes to support meaningful participation in all aspects of the life of the Church through engagement, relationship and appropriate supports, and to nurture the growth and capability of persons with disabilities so they experience a true sense of belonging in our community.


Read a feature story on the Office for Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities featuring Norman "David" Atkinson, an important person in this ministry (click here).  David is in heaven now after a full life and is missed very much.  


3 Photos, from left to right. Photo 1: Ben greeting people at the door. Photo 2: Ben with Fr. Jim after Sunday mass. Photo 3: Ben and MB bringing up the gifts.

Read a feature story on the Office for Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities (click here).

The ministry was also highlighted in the 2020 Annual Appeal video (click here) and in a stand-alone feature video (click here).

Catholic Social Teaching affirms the dignity of every person to have access to all that is part of living a fully human life, which is at the heart of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Click here to watch this short video created by NJ Human Services and its Division of Disability Services celebrating the 30th anniversary of the ADA.

Mission Statement 

The function 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, individuals with disabilities and their families. It also seeks to support families on their faith journey.  It does this through: Education, Advocacy, Affirmation, Accompaniment and Networking.  This includes individuals with intellectual, developmental, learning and/or mobility disabilities, mental health conditions, and people who are blind or have low vision.

This work is informed by input from individuals with disabilities and those who love them and 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,[1978] and the mission of the Archdiocese of Newark.  

Areas of Focus

Seeks to support the efforts of local parish leadership to encourage meaningful participation of individuals with disabilities 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 accompany individuals with disabilities and their families on their faith journey, particularly through relationships in their local parish, to support participation and foster a true sense of belonging.

Processes & Services

Based on premise that everyone is equally precious to God, and is able to learn, develop, participate, and contribute when provided with appropriate supports within a caring community.

Individuals with disabilities, family members, educators, service providers, community organizations, and other faith traditions are important partners.

Provide supportive strategies to promote participation in the life of the Church, which includes liturgy, catechesis and other communal activities, through catechist education and support; resource development and adaptation for catechesis and preparation for the Sacraments, web-based resources; Attends Mass, a program to teach individuals with Autism to attend Mass (stay tuned). Family Support: parent groups; special events. Inclusive Family Masses and special liturgy celebrations.

2 photos, from left to right. Photo 1: Thomas, altar server. Photo 2: Receiving communion..


Finance/foundation support is always appreciated to increase effectiveness and ability to serve. For information on how you can donate, please contact Anne Masters at or (973) 497-4309.


We are a pilgrim people, a work in progress, so this will always be developing.

Contact Us

Anne Masters, Ph.D., FAAIDD
Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities
Phone: 973-497-4309

The Archdiocese of Newark
171 Clifton Avenue
P.O. 9500
Newark, NJ  071074

Find us on:

Our Blog
National Catholic Partnership on Disabilitity