The Office of Disabilities Ministries has, as its mission, the inclusion of people with disabilities in the fellowship and spirituality of the Church. 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.
- Video: Welcoming people with disabilities
- Local mental health services and crisis intervention
- Checklist for parish councils: Evaluating parish efforts in Disability Ministry
- Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops
- Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities
- National Catholic Partnership on Disability
- The Catholic Celiac Society
- Cusa: An apostolate of people with chronic illness or disability
- National Organization on Disability
- Victorious Missionaries
- Fr. MD's Kitchen Table
- Mental Health Association of N.W. Pennsylvania
Michele Inter, M.Ed.
Director, Disabilities Ministries
Director, Ministry with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
429 East Grandview Blvd
Erie, PA 16504
Phone: (814) 824-1250
Email Michele Inter