Office for Persons with Disabilities
The Office for Persons with Disabilities serves the Archdiocese of Cincinnati by working to create a culture of inclusion and meaningful participation for persons with disabilities and their families. We organize and provide consistent support, advocacy, and awareness for our parishes while also implementing practices and policies within the Archdiocese to assist parishes in their role of offering the fullness of the faith to all people.
The Office for Persons with Disabilities for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati works to focus our efforts around the USCCB’s Pastoral Statment on Persons with Disabilities. This document encourages individuals, families, parishes, and the Church at large to work towards welcoming persons with disabilities into full participation in our ecclesial communities and to advocate for the needs of persons with disabilities in the secular realm. The role of the Archdiocese in these efforts is listed below.
Roles of the Office for Persons with Disabilities
- Practices & Policies: Develop policy and translate it into practical strategies for working with persons with disabilities. Create best practices to follow for ministry with persons with disabilities and recognize those that are already happening in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
- Advocacy & Awareness: Serve as advocates for individuals with disabilities seeking help from other agencies. Promote awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
- Catechesis, Sacramental Prep, & Participation: Programs of communal and individual prayer, and in celebrations that direct us all towards continued participation in the sacramental life of the Church.
Our goal is to provide support for persons with disabilities, caregivers and families in order to create a welcoming and inclusive environment within our Archdiocese and parishes. Each of the below pages contain a plethora of resources, support websites, and media to assist persons with disabilities and connect them with the necessary resources to fully participate in their communities.
For assistance or questions regarding support, please contact the Office for Persons with Disabilities at (937)281-4128 for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most frequent questions and answers
Accessible Design is the process of creating or modifying an environment so that is can be welcoming to all people. We are called through our Catholic faith to reach out to all of God’s children and to create an environment that is accessible to people of all abilities. The importance of thoughtful and careful planning for any ministry cannot be overemphasized. Planning should likewise be approached with creativity and openness. CLICK HERE to be taken to our Accessible Design Webpage.
In an effort to embrace and welcome the members of our church with Autism, Down Syndrome, and other sensory-processing issues, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has begun hosting Sensory-Friendly Liturgies particularly in the Dayton Deanery. These Masses include lower lights, softer music, and shorter more literal homilies. We also use the Children’s Lectionary for more literal readings. The biggest difference is that we encourage families and individuals to get up and move if needed, to bring alternative seating, fidgets or noise cancelling headphones. We try to create an accepting environment and work to eliminate the stigma that many with special needs encounter. Our liturgies have been featured on the EWTN Podcast: CNA Newsroom. CLICK HERE to listen to our interview. CLICK HERE to see a list of upcoming Sensory-Friendly Liturgies.
There are a number of parishes around the Archdiocese that provide interpreters. For more information about these liturgies, interpreting services, and Deaf Ministry CLICK HERE.
The NCPD summarizes Cannon Law in this statement:
“Parents or guardians, together with pastors, are to see to it that children who have reached the use of reason are correctly prepared and are nourished by the Eucharist as early as possible. Pastors are to be vigilant lest any children come to the Holy Banquet who have not reached the use of reason or whom they judge are not sufficiently disposed. It is important to note, however, that the criterion for reception of Holy Communion is the same for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities as for all persons, namely, that the person be able to “distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food,” even if this recognition is evidenced through manner, gesture, or reverential silence rather than verbally. Pastors are encouraged to consult with parents, those who take the place of parents, diocesan personnel involved with disability issues, psychologists, religious educators, and other experts in making their judgment. If it is determined that a parishioner who is disabled is not ready to receive the sacrament, great care is to be taken in explaining the reasons for this decision. Cases of doubt should be resolved in favor of the right of the Catholic to receive the sacrament. The existence of a disability is not considered in and of itself as disqualifying a person from receiving Holy Communion.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with Sacramental Prep for a child who is non-verbal or developmentally/intellectually disabled, our office has resources to assist your parish in providing these opportunities. Always feel free to reach out and share your struggles. Our goal is to work towards belonging within our parishes and Archdiocese.