Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) has begun research into the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the life of Catholic parishes in the United States.
They note being inspired by Pope Francis’s outreach to the margins and his visit to the United States as they begin, with a survey of 5,000 parishes nationwide.
Monsignor John J. Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Washington noted:
Asking Catholic parishes and dioceses across the United States what they are doing to reach out, include and serve individuals with developmental differences is a practical way to respond to the call by Pope Francis that we pay attention to people who are marginalized in society. This project will encourage the creation of new ministries and programs that will benefit people with disabilities and their families, and enrich the life of the Church in America. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the Holy Father’s historic visit to our country.
According to a news release, CARA said “the project will be rolled out in three phases: first, a survey will be conducted of a random sample of 5,000 Catholic parishes across the United States; second, a survey will be sent to disability ministry leaders of all American (arch)dioceses; and third, special reports will be produced by CARA that will analyze the findings, identify current practices, and recommend ways to address unmet needs.”
The entire project is expected to be completed in 10 months.