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Ministry for Persons with Disabilities

On this page, you will find the following information:

Vision Statement    Contact Info         Events           Advocacy        Resources          


                                     Madonna of Humility created by Fra Filioppo Lippi, 1430

                                                 Beatitudes for People with Special Needs 

~ Blessed are you who walk with us in public places, and ignore the stares of strangers, for in your friendship we feel good to be ourselves.  ~ Blessed are you who never bid us to "hurry up" and, more blessed, you who do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them for us, for often we need time rather than help.  ~ Blessed are you who stand beside us as we enter new and untried ventures, for our unsureness will be outweighed by the time when we surprise ourselves and you.   ~ Blessed are you who ask for our help and realize our giftedness, for our greatest need is to be needed. ~ Blessed are you who help us with the graciousness of Christ, for often we need the help we cannot ask for.    ~ Blessed are you when, by all things, you assure us that what makes us individuals is not our particular disability or difficulty but our beautiful God-given personhood which no handicapping condition can confine.   ~ Rejoice and be glad for your understanding and love have opened doors for us to enjoy life to its full and you have helped us believe in ourselves as valued and gifted people.   Author Unknown

Vision Statement

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend commits itself to advocate for the dignity, acceptance, and inclusion of all persons with special needs in church, school, and pastoral ministries by promoting full and meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church and society.

Contact Us

Please contact us with your thoughts, suggestions, and questions.

Mary Glowaski at  or (260) 399-1458 

Allison Sturm at or (260) 399-1452

Advocacy in our diocese

BIP is a grassroots movement that started in the Fort Wayne area in 2015 by people from several parishes who wanted to raise awareness,  promote acceptance, inclusion and full and meaningful participation for adults and children with disabilities in our parish communities.  Members of BIP met with Bishop Kevin Rhoades and spoke to priests in September 2016 regarding their efforts.  BIP is supported by the diocesan staff in the Ministry for Persons with Disabilities and works with pastors parish staffs, parishioners, any groups or individuals who want to help make our parishes more welcoming.  

Click here to read more about Building Inclusive Parishes (BIP) 

Click here to read more about the Children of St. Angela Merici Ministry at St. Pius X 

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events for late summer and fall will be posted soon!

Resources in our diocese

A variety of materials and resources can be previewed, borrowed, or downloaded.  The Office of Catechesis and the Office of Evangelization work together to serve and support individuals with special needs.  A resource lending library is available for priests, DRE's, catechists, teachers, and parents on a variety of topics.  Contact Janice Martin in the Office of Catechesis at (260) 422-4622 ext. 3318 or  Grants provided through "Legacy of Faith" may be awarded to parishes to offset cost of materials, resources, and programs. Contact the staff in the Office of Catechesis or Evangelization.

                                                                               Click here to download Pastoral Practices 

The "All Are Welcome" pew cards are available to parishes for free. Just contact us.

Kits like this can be borrowed from the lending resource library. 

National, Regional, & Local Advocacy

              National Catholic Partnership on Disability 

          The National Alliance on Mental Illness 

               Xavier Society for the Blind 

               Look Up Indiana 

Check out these resources for a variety of materials: 

     Loyola Press 

    Catechesis of the Good Shepherd  


Past Events

World Meeting of Families

Workshops for Parents & Parish Staffs

Meet and Greet Evenings

People gathered at either the St. John Paul ll Center (Mishawaka) or at the Archbishop Noll Center (Fort Wayne) to discuss and develop ideas on effective ways to engage all people with disabilities, such as cognitive, physical, emotional and mental illness, into a full and meaningful participation in our Church. 

Day Retreat

The annual Retreat for People with Disabilities was held at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne.  Please contact Dorothy Schuerman at 260-489-3537 ext. 207 for information on future events hosted by St. Vincent.


Eucharistic Holy Hour

Dr. Jerome Lejeune Catholic Medical Guild & St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish sponsored a Eucharistic Holy Hour for children and their families and particularly all persons with disabilities at St. John's Catholic Church in Fort Wayne.  The evening consisted of prayer, sacred music, and Adoration.

Mass for People with Disabilities

Bishop Rhoades has celebrated special Masses for people with disabilities in Fort Wayne and South Bend.                                             



Bishop Rhoades' homily "Respect Life: The gifts of persons with disabilities"

Saint Paul wrote to his delegate, Saint Timothy, that "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. He told Timothy not to be ashamed of his testimony to our Lord but to bear his "share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."
"Saint Paul's teaching and advice are important and relevant for us today. Whatever our abilities or disabilities, we all have received from the Lord not a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. We all have been called to bear witness or testimony to the Lord.
 How edified I have been by the powerful and loving witness of many persons with disabilities in our diocese, of individuals and families who indeed bear their share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. I believe that your witness to the Lord is vital to the Church's mission of evangelization in the world today. It is  good to focus on the gifts of persons with disabilities since your generous sharing of your gifts, in the midst of hardships and struggles at times, is a powerful sign to all of the power of God's grace and love."

Click here to read Bishop Rhoades entire homily:
Click here to read Today's Catholic story on event:

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