Diocese of Joliet

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 Special Needs Catechesis

Every person, no matter what their abilities, has the right to a full life in the Church and the support of family, parish and community. The Diocese of Joliet is an inclusion diocese - we believe that the first choice for children and youth should be to integrate them into 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 for special needs near you. 

Evangelization and catechesis for persons with disabilities must be geared in content and method to their particular situation.  Specialized 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 disabilities 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 Disabilities)

Learn more and find resources:
Special Needs general issues - Secretary for Pastoral Concerns, Peter Newburn  pnewburn@dioceseofjoliet.org  (815) 221-6238
Diocese of Joliet Disabilities Ministry main page   

Mental Illness in the Parish     

Special Needs Faith Formation Policies & Procedural Guidelines from Faith Formation in the Diocese of Joliet: Word or PDF
More information about special needs religious education: Joyce Donahue jdonahue@dioceseofjoliet.org or call (815) 221-6146

CATECHETICAL RESOURCES
Listing of Parish Special Needs Programs and Services
Special Needs Registration Form
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)
Article on Resources - Our Sunday Visitor, (includes graphic on how to take special needs children to Mass.)
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"

OTHER
Being Sensitive: "Handicap" or "Disability"?
Ability Production - Online and Media Resources
Recommended books:
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)