Archives for December 28, 2022

Worship in the Church should foster the participation of all the faithful, including those with special needs of any kind. 

As pastors and parish leaders prepare liturgical celebrations, please keep the following in mind:

LOW-GLUTEN HOSTS: those with Celiac disease and others with gluten intolerance will benefit from receiving a low-gluten host, available from religious good stores. Please also remember that cross-contamination can occur when the same minister distributes both regular and low-gluten hosts.  Consider the use of a special pyx for low-gluten hosts or a designated minister.  You can find more information about these important issues on the USCCB website.

INCENSE: many people with respiratory issues struggle when incense is used in the liturgy. Even after incense is used, the irritants can remain in the air.  When there are multiple iterations of a liturgical celebration (e.g. 5 Masses for Christmas or 4 Masses for the weekend) consider using incense only at the last few, and publicize clearly that the first few will be incense-free.

HEARING ASSISTANCE: Many people need hearing assistance to participate fully in the Church’s liturgy.  In addition to the important of priests, deacons, and lay ministers speaking loudly and clearly when reading aloud the prayers and readings of the liturgy, a hearing assistance system may be of value for a parish church.  Such a system may include small devices with earphones, or the ability to receive amplified sound through a personal hearing aid or other device.

Offering ASL for Mass and parish events for the Deaf Community in your parish will provide an opportunity for growth and inclusion.  Members of the Deaf Community will need proper seating near the ASL interpreter and access to the readings, as well.

These are just a few of the many considerations for pastors and parish leaders in preparing liturgical celebrations that are welcoming for all people.

For more information on inclusive worship, please contact the Office for Persons with Disabilities.