Catholic Diocese of Dallas

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History of Disabilities and Deaf Ministries

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The Diocese of Dallas began to reach out and include persons with disabilities into the Church when Rev. Charles V. Grahmann, established a diocesan ministry to persons with disabilities and caregivers in 1999. Bishop Grahmann appointed Rev. Austin Green, OP, director of the ministry that consisted of several lay volunteers, representing the diocese at large. This ministry is funded by the Texas State Charities of the Knights of Columbus through donations to the bishop. The group first met on February 23, 1999. The ministry's first public event was a Jubilee 2000 Mass for Persons with Disabilities and Caregivers at the Cathedral at Noon on June 17, 2000. Since then the ministry has worked with parishes to present many other activities.

Background: The Church and Persons with Disabilities

"The same Jesus who heard the cry for recognition from the disabled of Judea and Samaria two thousand years ago calls us, his followers, to embrace our responsibility to our own disabled brothers and sisters in the United States"

The Ministry Today

The G.R.A.C.E. (Gather Receive Accept Catechize and Enrich) Disabilities Committee operates as a part of the Disabilities Ministry in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. The Committee was formed to develop an awareness of disabilities throughout the diocese and to allow those persons with disabilities and caregivers to participate as fully as possible in the life of the church.

Goals:

  • Develop an awareness of persons with disabilities by the clergy and laity
  • Making parishes in the Diocese as physically accessible as possible.
  • Review designs for new churches and parish facilities, and church and facility renovations to ensure the designs meet ADA requirements for accessibility.
  • Assess the number and needs of persons with disabilities throughout the diocese
  • Promote favorable acceptance and attitudes of inclusion
  • Establish disability ministries in each parish and train the members of those ministries
  • Promote special attention to caregivers to ensure their needs are understood and met
  • Train Parish Catechetical Leaders and Catechists methods of teaching Faith Formation classes to children with special needs.
  • Provide catechetical instruction to children and adults with special needs.
  • Establish and maintain databases of persons with disabilities in the diocese for statistical analysis and mailings
  • Provide continuing support parishes of the diocese to ensure that the needs persons with disabilities, caregivers, and the deaf are being met.