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, individuals with disabilities and their families. It does this through: Education, Advocacy, Affirmation, Accompaniment and Networking. It also seeks to support families on their faith journey. This includes individuals with intellectual, developmental, learning and/or mobility disabilities, mental illness, people who are blind or have low vision.
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 participation in all aspects of the communal life of the Church through engagement, relationship and appropriate supports to encourage persons with disabilities to grow and flourish 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.
Process and 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 participationin 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.
We are a pilgrim people, a work in progress, so this will always be developing.
Finance/Foundation support is always appreciated to increase effectiveness and ability to serve.