Ministry Specific Resources

Autism

The prevalence of autism is an increasing reality in the parishes and schools of the Catholic Church in the United States. Autism, also often called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is “a set of complex neurodevelopment disorders that include autistic disorder, Asperger disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Children who have ASD display mild to severe impairments in social interaction and communication along with restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviors,
interests, and activities.” (2013 CDC report) The rates of autism have risen steadily, and as of the latest report are at 1 in 50. Regardless of the reason for the increase, all parishes and schools will have members who live with the range of conditions that are within the autism spectrum.

In order to adequately respond to the needs of these members in our parishes and schools, the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life is commissioning an Autism Task Force to establish an appropriate strategy for including individuals with autism on every level of diocesan life. As we continue to develop this strategy, we appreciate your patience. If you have any specific questions in the interim, please reach out to your Regional Support Team or the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life at cmfl@richmonddiocese.org.

For more resources on ministry to persons with autism, check out the National Catholic Partnership on Disability page.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Many of the resources to provide pastoral care, sacramental preparation, and religious education are located outside of our diocese. For more information and resources for working with people who are deaf and hard of hearing, check out the National Catholic Partnership on Disability page. If you would like assistance or have questions about incorporating this ministry at your parish, please reach out to your Regional Support Team or the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life at cmfl@richmonddiocese.org.

Intellectual and Developmental Disability

For more information on ministry to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, check out the National Catholic Partnership on Disability page.  If you would like assistance or have questions about incorporating this ministry at your parish, please reach out to your Regional Support Team or the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life at cmfl@richmonddiocese.org.

Mental Illness

For more information and resources on ministry to persons with mental illness, check out the National Catholic Partnership on Disability page.  If you would like assistance or have questions about incorporating this ministry at your parish, please reach out to your Regional Support Team or the Center for Marriage, Family, and Life at cmfl@richmonddiocese.org.

Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis

The Embracing Grace Ministry was started to offer peer support to families who are expecting a baby diagnosed with an adverse prenatal diagnosis. The unexpected diagnosis can be spina bifida, or any of the chromosomal abnormalities, Down syndrome or Trisomy 13 or 18. But whatever the diagnosis, the parents are often devastated and must decide what to do. Parents are often presented with the option of choosing an “induction of labor” (a euphemism for abortion) or to carry the child to term.

The Embracing Grace Ministry pairs the parents with a peer supporter who has had the same experience. The peer supporter shares experiences, provides resources and in general helps the family maximize the time they have with their baby, both inside and outside the womb. For more information, contact Paula Stryker, an Embracing Grace peer minister.

For more information on this ministry, click here.