Deaf Ministry

“In order to promote the meaningful participation of all Catholics within the Church, it is important to not only be aware of different types of accommodations, but also different types of cultures that may arise from physical differences. There is a broad spectrum of auditory differences which call for varying types of accommodations or programs.

Deafness/Deaf Culture:
Across all age groups, approximately 600,000 people in the United States are Deaf (Gallaudet University). Many people do not consider Deafness to be a disability. Since Deaf people have their own language with distinctive cultural and linguistic features, many Deaf people consider their communicative abilities to be fully thriving. There are a number of dioceses and archdioceses in the United States that have Deaf Apostolates or diocesan offices which engage Deaf culture. These offices coordinate the active participation of Deaf people in weekly liturgies, the sacraments, faith formation, and youth ministry. In our Church today, there are ordained priests and deacons that are Deaf, Deaf Catholic Pilgrimages, and homilies available in American Sign Language online. “- National Catholic Partnership on Disability

Click the video or one of the icons to the left to watch, listen, and read.



The National Catholic Office for the Deaf estimates that 96% of Catholics are unchurched. Many churches do not offer ASL for the Deaf Community therefore, they do not attend mass or receive the sacrament of reconciliation regularly.  Many catechetical programs do not have the resources available to provide qualified interpreters for instruction therefore, formation for the Deaf is not always available. 

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is committed to offering mass, reconciliation, and formation to our deaf brothers and sisters.  To learn more about how our office can help, please contact Lisa Averion, Associate Director [email protected]

Church Documents

St. Francis De Sales- Patron Saint for the Deaf

Pastoral Statement by the US Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities (1978)

If persons with disabilities are to become equal partners in the Christian community, injustices must be eliminated and ignorance and apathy replaced by increased sensitivity and warm acceptance. The leaders and the general membership of the Church must educate themselves to appreciate fully the contribution persons with disabilities can make to the Church’s spiritual life.

Guidelines for Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities (USCC B, 2017)

…Persons with disabilities, like all other parishioners, should be encouraged to participate in all levels of pastoral ministry that are available and for which they are qualified… In choosing those who will be invited to use their gifts in service to the parish community, the parish pastoral staff and lay volunteers, including ushers and liturgical ministers, should be mindful of extending Christ’s welcoming invitation to qualified parishioners with disabilities. Like others, Catholics with disabilities are not only recipients of the Gospel, but are also called to proclaim it and to be witnesses to its truth.

Organizations & Webpages


The National Catholic Office for the Deaf is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to pastoral ministry with deaf and hard of hearing persons.  NCOD serves 5.7 million deaf and hard of hearing Catholics through its pastoral ministry and through its special advocacy to bishops, pastors and families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing.


ASL YOUCAT is a national project to translate the Youth Catechism (YOUCAT) into American Sign Language (ASL) in order to help evangelize our Deaf brothers and sisters in Christ who do not know Catholicism. This is the first time a Catholic Catechism has been translated into ASL!


Lisa Averion
[email protected]