Diocese of Joliet

Home » Christian Service » Office for Human Dignity » Respect Life Ministry » Ministry To and With Persons with Disablities

Respect Life Ministry

About our Ministry of Life
Hope After Abortion
Calendar of Events
Pregnant? Need Help?
Can you share your check, pray and/or volunteer?
Ministry To and With Persons with Disablities
Pastoral Response to Mental Illness
Mental Illness in the Parish
Praying & Offering Help to those at Abortion Clinics
Voter Guides and ''Do's & Don'ts'' of Parish Political Activity
Prayer with Our Lady of Guadalupe During COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 Vaccines
Action Steps for Life


Special Needs/Disablities Ministry in the Diocese of Joliet

Every person, no matter what their abilites, has the right to a full life in the Church and the support of family, parish and community.  This includes those living with mental illness. The Diocese of Joliet is  an inclusion diocese - we believe that the first choice for children and youth should be to integrate them in the ordinary religious education programs of the parish, making the appropriate modifications.

However, we also know that is not always possible, so parishes are urged to work with families to discern what is best. There are some regional programs in parishes able to serve families of those who need to be in a special separate program. Find parish faith formation services near you.

Evangelization and catechesis for persons with disabilities mus be geared in content and method to their particulare situation. Specialezed catechists should help them interpret the meaning of their lives and should give witness to Christ's presence in the local community in ways they can understand and appreciate. We hasten to add, however, that great care be taken to avoid further isolation of persons with disabilites through these programs which, as far as possible, should be integrated with normal catechetical activities of the parish.   (Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disablities)

Learn more and find resources:

  • Special Needs general issues - Ministry To and With Persons with Disabilities, Alexandra Kurator akurator@dioceseofjoliet.org (815) 221-6254

More information about special needs religious education: Joyce Donahue jdonahue@dioceseofjoliet.org or call (815) 221-6146


Annual Bishop's Mass with Person With Disablities








Each year, normally in October, the Diocese of Joliet gathers people of all ages who are living with disabliites from around the diocese to celebrate a special affirmative liturgy together, followed by a luncheon provided by the Knights of Columbus. 

Deaf Ministry

Deaf Apostolate Website

There are three monthly signed Masses with the deaf community that are offered in the diocese.  One is offered the first Sunday of the month at St. Isidore in Bloomingdale at 12:30 p.m.  The second Mass is offered the third Sunday of the month at St. Mary Immaculate in Plainfield at 11:30 p.m.  The third Mass is offered at St. Thomas the Apostle in Naperville the 1st Sunday of the month at 9:00 a.m. 

There are other parishes that have interpreted Masses with varying regularity in the diocese.   The newest of these is a weekly interpreted Mass on at Christ the King Parish, 1501 S. Main Street in Lombard every week at 10 a.m. For additional information, contact the parish at (630)629-1717.  

It is important to know there is a difference between an interpreted Mass and a signed Mass.  An interpreted Mass is when the interpreter does everything and a signed Mass is when the priest signs and the deaf participate fully in the liturgy.

If you are in need of an interpreter and are unable to find one, or if you know of one who is willing to be of service, please contact the appropriate person on the Deaf Apostolate website for a parish in your area.

Children of Mary Support Group
Children of Mary is a social and support group for teens and young adults with disabilities. They meet once a month for spiritual refreshment and an outing. The group is headquartered at Corpus Christi Parish in Carol Stream, but anyone with disabilities from any area of the diocese is welcome.


General Resources for Special Needs

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet Aging and Disability Services
Easter Seals, Joliet Region (includes Morris and Bradley) - Services
Easter Seals, DuPage/Fox Valley - Programs and Services
Xavier Society for the Blind


Listing of Parish Special Needs Programs and Services
USCCB Guidelines for Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities
Celiac Disease, Alcohol Intolerance, and the Church's Pastoral Response
National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry Info Sheets (Catechetical Tips & More!)
National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities Webinars (recorded versions of past events,resource and methodology handouts)
Special Needs Curriculum list (RTJ's Creative Catechist)
Loyola Press - Special Needs Ministry Web Center
St. Mary Curriculum For Students With Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities
Book, Booklet, and Curriculum Resources -   Word    PDF
Homeschooling Resources for Parents of Children with Disabilities
Vatican Conference on "Catechesis and Persons with Disabilities"


Being Sensitive: "Handicap" or "Disability"?
Ability Production - Online and Media Resources 


Autism and Your Church

GIANT HERO - One couple's journey through loving and letting go of a son with Potter's Syndrome (Disabilities/Pro-Life)
Told by Angie and Cecil Bellephant, Written by Tracy Ahrens (Kankakee, IL)