Special needs faith formation: All are welcome
Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. People with developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges deserve equal access to spiritual formation and learning opportunities according to their capabilities.
Thanks to the efforts of the Diocesan Special Needs Resource Group for Persons who are Differently-Abled, which assesses the needs of parishes across the diocese and provides information about faith formation for people with special needs, we can help you and your family find appropriate faith formation options near you. Contact us below to get started.
In addition, our 9 Charlotte-area Catholic schools (MACS) and Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Greensboro also offer a range of programs for students with special needs, providing individualized learning from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Learn more here.
The Bridge Religious Education Program at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Charlotte, N.C., is an example of the faith formation options available for families with special needs children. (Courtesy of St. Matthew TV)
Statements from the USCCB on Ministering to those with Special Needs:
- Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities
The Catholic Church pursues its mission by furthering the spiritual, intellectual, moral and physical development of the people it serves. We call upon people of good will to reexamine their attitudes toward their disabled brothers and sisters and promote their well-being, acting with the sense of justice and compassion that the Lord so clearly desires. Parishes should maintain their own programs of ministry to persons with disabilities, and dioceses should make every effort to establish offices that coordinate this ministry and support parish efforts.
- Life Matters: Persons with Disabilities
As persons with disabilities share their gifts and needs, they bring out the best in our mutual humanity. They challenge us to live the Gospel precepts of charity in the real world, to sacrifice some of our comfort for others, to take the time to enable them to be full members of society. They need to feel our solidarity with them, and to know their true dignity and worth as fellow sisters and brothers in Christ. Our own future with Christ depends on it.
The Church recognizes that every parish community includes members with disabilities, and earnestly desires their active participation. All members of the Body of Christ are uniquely called by God by virtue of their Baptism. In light of this call, the Church seeks to support all in their growth in holiness, and to encourage all in their vocations. Participating in, and being nourished by, the grace of the sacraments is essential to this growth in holiness. Catholic adults and children with disabilities, and their families, earnestly desire full and meaningful participation in the sacramental life of the Church.