History of the Ministry with Persons with Disabilities in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend 

2011

  • MINISTRY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IS ESTABLISHED

  • COLLABORATION WITH THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC PARTNERSHIP ON DISABILITY (NCPD)

2012

  • PARISH SURVEY is sent to all pastors to evaluate the priority of serving people with disabilities in their parish regarding physical accessibility, financial commitment, and providing training for teachers and catechists 

  • MASS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES is celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at St. Matthew Cathedral, South Bend

  • DIOCESAN DISABILITIES ADVISORY BOARD consisting of parents, educators, professionals, diocesan staff, and a pastor is formed  

​2013

  • MASS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES is celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at St. Jude Catholic Church, Fort Wayne

  • EUCHARISTIC HOLY HOUR sponsored by Dr. Jerome Lejeune Medical Guild and the Ministry for People with Disabilities at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Fort Wayne

​ 2014

  • MEET & GREETS held in Fort Wayne and South Bend 

  • MINISTRY FAIR participant at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, Fort Wayne 

2015

  • RETREAT FOR TEENS WITH DOWN SYNDROME support at Our Lady of the Angels Oratory with the Franciscan Sisters Minor

  • BUILDING INCLUSIVE PARISHES (BIP) is formed in the Fort Wayne area. It is a volunteer grassroots effort of individuals from various Fort Wayne area parishes dedicated to assist diocesan staff in serving individuals with disabilities

  • ZEAL MISSIONARY DISCIPLESHIP FAIR participant at Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne

  • CATHOLIC SCHOOL MISSION DAY information table in Fort Wayne and South Bend

  • ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE provides accessibility to people in wheelchairs to attend penance services

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 2016                

  • BIP (BUILDING INCLUSIVE PARISHES) CORE MEMBERS MEET WITH BISHOP KEVIN C. RHOADES to share experiences of individuals in parish communities who have made a positive influence in the life of their loved one with a disability

  • BIP (BUILDING INCLUSIVE PARISHES) CORE MEMBERS SPEAK TO PRIESTS AT FALL PRESBYTERATE MEETING

  • MIRIAM’S BLESSING IS ESTABLISHED by a former disability advisory board member in our diocese.  It is a chapter of the National Apostolate “Be Not Afraid”, a ministry devoted to supporting couples who receive a catastrophic pre-natal diagnosis 

  • CATHOLIC SCHOOL MISSION DAY information table in Fort Wayne and South Bend 

  • PARENT WORKSHOP offered for parents with children with disabilities in Fort Wayne 

  • DRE WORKSHOP offered in Fort Wayne

  • LOOP (ASSISTED LISTENING SERVICE) is installed at Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church after a BIP core member raises the $6000+ needed in one week 

  • BIP MONTHLY MEETINGS begin at the Archbishop Noll Center, Fort Wayne

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2017 

  • MASS & MINGLE offered at St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church, South Bend

  • PARISH ASSESSMENT conducted at St. Anthony Catholic Parish, South Bend

  • BIP GROUP FORMS in South Bend 

  • NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (NCPD) GREAT LAKES REGIONAL MEETING participant in Michigan

  • CATHOLIC SCHOOL MISSION DAY informational table in Fort Wayne and South Bend 

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2018

  • “BUILDING INCLUSIVE PARISHES” IS CHANGED TO “BELONGING” and "MINISTRY FOR ... " IS CHANGED TO "MINISTRY WITH PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES"

  • MONTHLY BELONGING MEETINGS ARE HELD AT VARIOUS FW PARISHES as core members from St. Vincent de Paul, Most Precious Blood, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton ask their pastor to host

  • disAbilities EXPO participant at the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum

  • NCPD GREAT LAKES REGIONAL MEETING participant in Michigan

  • CATHOLIC SCHOOL MISSION DAY information table in Fort Wayne and South Bend

  • COVERAGE FOR APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS (ABA) FOR DIOCESAN STAFF AND TEACHERS is offered when diocesan staff work together to support parent/teacher of child with autism

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2019

  • STAFF FROM THE CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OFFICE AND OFFICE OF CATECHESIS attend the Fort Wayne Belonging meeting in March

  • STAFF FROM THE OFFICE OF CATECHESIS, HISPANIC MINISTRY, & MINISTRY WITH PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES meet to discuss how to work together to provide sacramental prep and provide support and resources to parish DREs

  • ADULT MALE WITH COGNITIVE DISABILITIES RECEIVES SACRAMENTS with support from pastor, parish and diocesan staff

  • ADDITIONAL ACCESSIBLE PARKING SPACES are designated after a request is made by a parishioner at St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne to the pastor. Collaboration by parish staff, diocesan staff, and city officials results in three additional spots along a street bordering one side of the church

  • DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (DRE) SPRING MEETING at St. Pius, Granger focuses on how to make the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) 2017 Revised Guidelines for the Celebration of Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities known to parents, pastors, and parish staffs 

  • disAbilities EXPO participant at the FW Memorial Coliseum for the second consecutive year

  • DIOCESE OF FORT WAYNE-SOUTH BEND HOST THE 2019 NCPD GREAT LAKES REGIONAL MEETING AT LINDENWOOD RETREAT CENTER Staff representing 10 dioceses from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio learn of the grassroots efforts from the FW Belonging core members and the successful collaborative efforts of staff from several offices and ministries in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.  Miguel Romero, a Moreau Postdoctoral Research & Fellow with the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and current Assistant Professor at Salve Regina University is the Keynote Speaker

  • BISHOP KEVIN C. RHOADES CELEBRATES A LOW-SENSORY BI-LINGUAL CONFIRMATION MASS at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church for ten youths from Fort Wayne, Plymouth, South Bend, and Warsaw parishes. Several pastors of the youth concelebrate 

  • CATHOLIC SCHOOL MISSION DAY informational tables in Fort Wayne and South Bend

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2020

  • SENSORY-FRIENDLY MASSES BEGIN AT ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON, FORT WAYNE the first five Sundays of Lent at the request of a parishioner/belonging member.  Masses are suspended after the third Sunday due to Covid and resume in September. Sensory-Friendly Masses are moved temporarily to a regularly scheduled weeknight Mass

  • MONTHLY “BELONGING” MEETINGS ARE MOVED FROM IN-PERSON TO ZOOM

  • COVID CHALLENGES: LOW-GLUTEN HOSTS AND FACE MASKS  Ministry with Persons with Disabilities and the Office of Worship collaborate on directives to parishes regarding the offering of low-gluten hosts and the Blood of Christ for individuals unable to receive the Host with gluten. Advocacy on behalf of individuals who experience anxiety issues when wearing face masks at Mass are offered to pastors on a case-by-case basis  

  • THE “FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS” (FAQ DOCUMENT) IS REVISED TO INCLUDE THE “PASTORAL PREROGATIVE OF THE CELEBRATION OF A SACRAMENT” IN ADDITION TO THE GUIDELINES REGARDING PREPARATION OF THE SACRAMENT for individuals with special needs as stated in the 2017 document “Celebration of Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities” by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

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2021

  • ZOOM WORKSHOPS are offered on “Sensory-Friendly Masses” and “How to Create a Sense of Belonging in Parishes” in the spring

  • MEETING WITH HISPANIC MINISTRY STAFF AND BI-LINGUAL DRE’S

  • SENSORY-FRIENDLY MASS BEGINS AT ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC CHURCH, FORT WAYNE on the second Friday of the month at 5:45pm

  • SENSORY-FRIENDLY MASS AT ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON CATHOLIC CHURCH, FORT WAYNE moves to the first Tuesday of the month at 6:00pm

  • CATHOLIC SCHOOL MISSION DAY WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS "Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Classroom: A discussion of special education within private schools and practical strategies for the classroom from a faith-based perspective" & "Bridging Parent/Teacher Perspectives on Students with Disabilities” in Fort Wayne and South Bend 

  • SENSORY-FRIENDLY MASS AT ST. VINCENT de PAUL CATHOLIC CHURCH, FORT WAYNE begins on Sunday, November 7 and is scheduled for every Sunday at 1:30pm 

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