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Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

The purpose of the department 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 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,[1978] and reaffirmed in Welcome and Justice [1998].

Areas of focus: 

  • Seeks to reach out to people 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 of people with disabilities and their families.
  • Seeks to support the efforts of local parish leadership for inclusion.  

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.

Support Strategies:  

Parent Advisory Council; PRAISE Executive Board; Council for Special Needs in Catechesis; PRAISE Professional Advisory Board; interfaith collaboration; Inclusive Family Masses and special liturgy celebrations. …


Parish Advocates; ongoing faith/spirituality for adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities; outreach to group homes; and … stay tuned …  ideas ... questions ...?


Finance/Foundation support for increased outreach and services.

Contact Us

Anne Masters, M.A.
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