Bringing Children with Disabilities to the Sacraments

Adaptive Sacramental Preparation Kits from Loyola Press

Most of us are familiar with the tool for cropping an image on our computer or smartphone. While we intentionally crop images to center attention on a specific focal point, sometimes we unintentionally crop out features that are critical to telling the whole story.

For too long, people with disabilities have been “cropped out” of the total picture of our faith communities. When Loyola Press courageously decided to create faith formation resources for people with disabilities, some parish leaders we talked to actually said, “We don’t seem to have a population of people with disabilities.” That’s because they’ve been ignored. All parishes and all families are impacted by special needs issues whether they realize it or not. The estimates are that 1 in 7 (14%) of children ages 3 to 17 have some type of developmental disability.

One of the most exciting things that I’ve witnessed in my years at Loyola Press has been our development of outstanding faith formation resources for those with disabilities. At the top of the list of my favorites are the sacramental preparation kits: Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation KitAdaptive Reconciliation Kit, and Adaptive Confirmation Kit, which are available in both English and Spanish.

The wonderful resources in these adaptive sacramental kits empower and enable us to extend an invitation to those who have been “cropped out” of the picture for too long, to share in the experience of encountering Christ in the sacraments. I know that it’s cliche to use the phrase (based on a line from the movie, Field of Dreams), “If you build it, they will come!” The truth is, we can’t sit back and wait for families with children with disabilities to come forward before we build a place for them. We owe it to them to take the initiative and prepare a place for them at the Table of the Lord where they can receive the nourishment of the Eucharist and the grace of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Confirmation.

For more information about the Adaptive Sacramental Preparation Kits, click here, or contact your Educational Consultant.

About Joe Paprocki 2739 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

2 Comments on Bringing Children with Disabilities to the Sacraments

  1. I used the First Communion kit when it first became available. I had a student who was on the spectrum and needed to know what was going to happen and in what order. I had made him schedule boards using velcro to attach the different activities that were happing during class, but was very concerned about how or if he would be able to be at our class First Communion Mass. Thankfully, the kit was just what we needed to help with my student’s anxiety and he was able to fully participate in our Mass. The kit saved the day for him!

    • Thanks so much, K McDonough, for sharing your story with us and for the special care you offered for this young man to bring him closer to Jesus in the Eucharist!

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