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National Catholic Partnership on Disability


This office is responsible to make Catholic churches and all other programs sponsored by the Catholic Church accessible to people with disabilities. Its work is guided by the Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities that was approved in 1978.

The mission of this office is:
“Rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) works collaboratively to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church and society.”

The “Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities” is a 9 page document that is very extensive. Its language regarding inclusion, advocacy and empowerment regarding people with disabilities holds up nicely today. Here are a few excerpts that capture many of the main ideas:

“We all struggle with life. We must carry on this struggle in a spirit of mutual love, inspired by Christ's teaching that in serving others we serve the Lord Himself. (cf. Mt. 25:40) In doing so, we build a community of interdependent people and discover the Kingdom of God in our midst.”

“It is not enough merely to affirm the rights of people with disabilities. We must actively work to make them real in the fabric of modern society.”

“When we think of people with disabilities in relation to ministry, we tend automatically to think of doing something for them. We do not reflect that they can do something for us and with us.”

“in order to be loyal to its calling, to be truly pastoral, the parish must make sure that it does not exclude any Catholic who wishes to take part in its activities.”

Full document reviewed online on 10/21/2010 (www.ncpd.org/sites/default/files/pastoral_statement_1978.pdf)

The office has a website with several resources helpful for Catholic churches and agencies interested in doing a better job including people with disabilities. Many of these apply the principles of Universal Design to both the physical spaces and the materials/programs commonly used in parishes.

Contact Info:
Organization:National Catholic Partnership on Disability
Address:415 Michigan Avenue, N.E., Suite 95
Washington, DC 20017-4501
Phone:202-529-2933; 202-529-2934 (tty);

Web Links

Home page of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability

See their list of resources specific to intellectual/developmental disabilities

Read the Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities

This information was found at www.qualitymall.org