Catechesis for Special Needs
You are in the right place to find ongoing support and resources for parishes that minister to children with special needs and their families.
Click here to read the complete Vision statement on Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Catechesisfor the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Did you know?
All children who have been baptized are entitled to receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
A religious education curriculum can be adapted and/or modified to meet the needs of children with disabilities. Their presence in the program is a sign and symbol of God’s love for all.
The timing and frequency of instruction can be adapted to the child’s particular needs and abilities.
The catechist for children with disabilities does not need a background in special education. Resources and guidance are now available to help catechists meet the needs of these children.
Although all children are encouraged to learn and pray the basic prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Sign of the Cross), memorization of these prayers is not a requirement to receive the sacraments.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation may be received (and is often recommended to be received) at a later date, rather than just prior to receiving First Eucharist.
The OEEC will provide ongoing support and resources to parishes that minister to children with special needs.
Adapted from “Recognizing the Gift: A Parish Resource Guide for Welcoming Children with Disabilities” Archdiocese of New York, 2014.
Upcoming Workshop: Instructional Strategies for Students with Learning, Attention, and Gifted Needs For Catholic School Educators, Catechetical Leaders and Catechists
March 23, 2018
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Alumni Lounge
Raul Escarpio, Ed.D.
Associate Professor Senior at Miami Dade College,
Educational Consultant for Catholic Schools
Shepherd Educational Consulting
Florida International University
Dr. Raul Escarpio is the director for CatholicEd4All, a Catholic based consulting company that works with Catholic dioceses and schools nationwide to provide professional and consultative services on how to best meet the needs of diverse learners including placement options. He sits on the National Catholic Education Association's (NCEA) Exceptional Learners Committee and the Council for Exceptional Children's (CEC) Honors Committee. Furthermore, he hosts a weekly podcast on Catholic special education (CatholicEd4All) where he interviews leaders in Catholic special education nationwide including archbishops, superintendents, directors, and teachers. These guests share best practices in creating inclusive schoolwide programs. He is especially blessed in being married for the past 18 years and has a 10-year-old son.
Click below to read the statements put forward by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) related to persons with disability.
- Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities (1978)
- Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities: Revised Edition (2017)
- Highlights to the Revised Edition
- Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities (1995)
- Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities (1998)
- Bienvenida y Justicia para Personas con Discapacitadas
- Loyola Press adaptive materials and sacramental kits
- The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Program to Improve Catholic Religious Education for Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
- St. Mary’s, Boston adaptation of Rose Kennedy Program for children with autism
- Institute for Pastoral Initiatives/Resources for Inclusive Catechesis from University of Dayton
- Catholic Icing – free crafts
- Lambsongs Bible Stories –free printable books of Old and New Testament stories
- Free coloring pages
- Coloring and crafts blog
- CCC of America sells animated DVDs on the lives of many saints
Celebrating Mass with a Child with Special Needs
- "How to Celebrate Mass with a Child with Special Needs" article by David Rizzo
- Teaching Children with Autism and Other Disabilities to Attend Mass
- A Story about going to Mass
- We Go to Mass
- My Mass Book
- My Picture Missal Flip Book
- Living Faith Kids Praying The Mass (Booklet)
- Worshiping With Children with Special Needs
- Sample Models of Inclusion
- Access and Inclusion Models
- Basic Strategies for Teachers of Students with ASD
Archdiocesan Director of Catechetical Education
860-242-5573 ext. 2663