Think Spiritually; Act Locally

Online Resources from the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey and Catholic Charities Health and Human Services of Cleveland, Ohio

As our collective efforts to employ emerging technologies to assist in our faith based outreach activities continues to expand, I wanted to share two examples from individual Roman Catholic dioceses in this review due to my relative familiarity with them. Although I am certain that there are other internet-based sites from many faith traditions, it is my hope that some of the examples that I will share from these two might motivate local providers to implement similar services using some of the ideas and tools both have developed. (Please be sure to obtain permission from the key contact persons listed below before copying/modifying any such materials that they have placed online).


Online Resources from the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey and Catholic Charities Health and Human Services of Cleveland, Ohio

As our collective efforts to employ emerging technologies to assist in our faith based outreach activities continues to expand, I wanted to share two examples from individual Roman Catholic dioceses in this review due to my relative familiarity with them. Although I am certain that there are other internet-based sites from many faith traditions, it is my hope that some of the examples that I will share from these two might motivate local providers to implement similar services using some of the ideas and tools both have developed. (Please be sure to obtain permission from the key contact persons listed below before copying/modifying any such materials that they have placed online).

The first site, Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities, is a part of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ Vicariate for Pastoral Life and is primarily maintained by our division President, Anne Masters. The site has five pull down menus providing resources in: Home, Catechetics, Pastoral Support, Family Support and En Espanol (a limited number of Spanish language resources). There are a large number of tools and ideas shared across each of the menus. An example of locally focused efforts include a menu of churches in the diocese providing various inclusive worship opportunities across a number of different churches so that families and individuals may find a “safe haven” should they wish to find a church activity focused on unconditional acceptance. I have been in communication with Anne to “tighten up” some of the cyber links included in the resources. I particularly recommend some of the template pages she has included, such as “This is My Church: Template” in the Catechetics pulldown section, which could easily be modified to the reader’s local faith community.

The second site, Catholic Charities Disability Services and Ministries, is a branch of the Catholic Charities Health and Human Services, serving 8 Ohio counties in the Diocese of Cleveland. Dennis McNulty (dmcnulty@clevelandcatholiccharities.org) is the director and the “father” of this excellent website. Links connect you to: Home, Services & Ministries, Who We Serve, Where We Serve, Contact Us, Accessible Parishes, Catholic Teachings, Additional News & Information, and Past Newsletter, Pictures, & Links. Of particular note is the link Accessible Parishes. The project involved surveying 231 parishes in the 8 counties regarding various aspects of disability ministry. Following an analysis of the 155 parishes that responded to a simple survey instrument listed on this link, a list was compiled summarizing the accessibility and programmatic services specifically meeting the needs of worshipers with various disabilities. This could be an excellent starting point for other larger scale faith institutions (dioceses, synods, etc.) to begin the process of building more inclusive communities of worship.

As always, I welcome invitations to review materials of any and all types focused on providing worship and educational opportunities to persons with disabilities across all faith traditions. Please feel free to contact me anytime!
Don Healy (DE-Healy@wiu.edu).

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