The initial motivation of the ministry came from the Pastoral Statement of the U.S. Bishops on People with Disabilities which states, “People with disabilities have the same duty as all members of the community to do the Lord’s work according to their God-given talents and capabilities.”
Under the direction of Reverend John “Tex” Hilbert, a ministry to persons with disabilities began in the religious education department of the diocese of Erie in 1986. With ever evolving needs and discoveries, the ministry expanded and in 1988, was relocated as a ministry of Catholic Charities, where it remains today.
Disabilities Ministries supports spiritual growth and promotes inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of the church.
Volunteer parish advocates are trained to provide necessary accommodations and enable participation in the life of the parish.
The ministry sponsors seasonal days of prayer, retreats and liturgy and coordinates spiritual support groups for and with people with different disabilities.
The ministry also coordinates the Ministry with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Michele Inter, M.Ed.