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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                

        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

The image is the Madonna of Humility created by Fra Filioppo Lippi, 1430

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 Mary Glowaski  at or 260.399.1458 or Allison Sturm at or 260.399.1452 with your thoughts, suggestions, and questions. with your thoughts, suggestions, and questions.

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 ...

Please check back for late summer and fall events

Suggestions to help your child realize his or her dreams

Taken from the book, "My Child, My Gift" by Madeline P. Nugent B.S., M. Ed.  You can find the entire text of the book online by visiting or get the book in print form at the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop at 
Praise your child for jobs well done and efforts sincerely made, even if they are not totally successful.
~ Create situations that will help build your child’s self-confidence and self-worth.  Capitalize on your child’s talents.
~ Even though you could do something more quickly, allow your child to do it so that he or she learns his or her capabilities. Sometimes this means watching your child struggle even though you want to help.
~ Avoid the pity pot.  Pitying your child will not help.  Respect your child and use his or her strengths for encouragement.
~ Do not baby or allow your youngster to get away with behavior you would not tolerate in other children.
~ Ask your child’s input on decisions that involve him or her. Implement you child’s ideas as much as possible.
~ Overestimate rather than underestimate what your child can do. If you raise the bar, your child might reach it. Try and see without frustrating your child.
~ Teach your child personal care skills. This may mean allowing some things to be done less perfectly than you can do them. It may also mean some adjustments such as short hair cuts or using slip-on shirts and Velcro zippers.
~ Give your child chores.  Only expect as much perfection as your child can achieve.
~ Within reason, adapt the house to your child, but remember that other family members live there also and that your child will have to live in a society that his not 100% suited to his or her needs.
~ Integrate your child into society. Help him or her deal with questions and responses. Teach how to interact politely with adults, to make purchases, order from menus, and negotiate streets as much as possible. Teach your child survival skills as can be learned.  These are skills adults need also.
~ Encourage your child to make friends.  You may have to bring your child to other children or bring them to your child. Teach your child the skills needed to be a god friend.
~ Help your child to understand and accept personal differences as the source of abilities and insights other youngsters do not have.  Help your child share his or her talents with others.
~ Encourage hobbies and special interests so that your child uses leisure time wisely.  These could be hallmarks of recognition and sometimes of income.
~ Incorporate some structure into your life.  Schedules work well, even if you cannot always meet them, because they keep you focused and help your child anticipate what is coming next.
~ Think radical new thoughts.  Society has set certain educational goals for every child.  Maybe you child can meet them.  Maybe not.  Brainstorm ways to develop your child’s skills.  If society expected everyone to be auto mechanics, many people would be failures.
~ Allow your child to make choices and take responsibility for them.  If the choice was good, the child will obtain the rewards, if poor, the child will suffer the consequences which he or she needs to deal with himself or herself.  We mature by making decisions and living with their results.  Being self-determined is more important than any functional ability.
~ Foster a sense of humor and perspective in your child.
~ Do not allow others, including grandparents and other relatives, to pity, coddle, excuse or belittle your child.  Expect them to treat your child as you do.  Reject any other behavior.
~ Support your child’s dreams.  Instead of thinking and saying that your child could never achieve his or her fantasy, say and think, “If you really want to do that, we will look for a way to make it happen.”  Most outlandish dreams fade with time, but the reasonable ones persist.  Your child will understand better than you do what is reasonable for him or her.

Resources in our diocese


     Click here to download Pastoral Practices                                                                                                                                         

"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 

  • Workshops for Parents & Parish Staffs
  • Meet and Greet Evenings in Fort Wayne and South Bend Areas
  • Day Retreats at St. Vincent de Paul, Fort Wayne
  • Eucharistic Holy Hour at St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne and supported by the Dr. Jerome Lejeune Catholic Medical Guild
  • Mass for People with Disabilities celebrated by Bishop Kevin Rhoades                                  



Bishop Rhoades' homily "Respect Life: The gifts of persons with disabilities"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Click here to read Bishop Rhoades entire homily:                                                                       Click here to read Today's Catholic story on event:

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